MONTREAL, QC - CanoeKayak Canada gathered the paddling community at the Canadian Sprint CanoeKayak Championships for a moving tribute to 1976 Olympic silver medalist, John Wood, who passed away in January. His wife, Debbie Daymond, and their four children, Jason, Michael, Alan and Jenny, unveiled a commemorative plaque in his honour on the finish tower at the Olympic Basin where Wood crossed the line 37 years ago.
Eleven medals were won at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games and Wood’s medal was one of five silver. The medal ended a 24 year medal drought in the sport and inspired generations of Canadian athletes to build a tradition of success in CanoeKayak. With the exception of 1988, paddlers have won medals at every single Olympic Games since Wood’s iconic performance.
“It was a defining moment in Canadian paddling,” said Debbie Daymond. “It made everybody believe that they could do it too… how it’s grown and how successful our athletes have been in canoeing and in World Championships and Olympics is really amazing and I know it’s because of that moment in time when he did it and made everyone else believe.”
The unveiling ceremony also launched the John Wood Legacy Fund in support of women’s canoe. Wood was a strong proponent of equity and believed that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams to the highest level. The fund will continue to assist Canada as an international leader in developing women’s canoe and donations can be made through CanoeKayak Canada.
CanoeKayak Canada is the national governing body for competitive paddling in Canada. The organization’s vision is to be a Canadian sport for families, communities and champions. From supporting clubs to developing a competitive National Team, CanoeKayak Canada works to grow a sport which is a rich part of Canada’s heritage.