Diana Clement, a former Olympic and female sports pioneer, will receive the Order of Canada

Diana Clement believes that mosquitoes made her so fast.

When she was a young girl training on a track that her father had built in the swamps of Moncton, New York, she moved as fast as she could so as not to fall into a swarm.

All these years later, Clement 83 years old, he was the manager of the Olympic and Olympic team, and now – a member of the Order of Canada.

About a week ago, they called her from the office of the Governor General and said that among 120 Canadians get honor in Ottawa in 2020.

Her quote emphasizes her “contribution to sports and recreation as a supporter of sportsmanship, fitness and a healthy lifestyle among all Canadians.”

“I am speechless. Actually, I had tears. I couldn't believe it, ”Clement said over the phone from her apartment in downtown Vancouver.

Clement and her husband Doug met during the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. (BC Sports Hall of Fame)

Clement's career destroyed records and glass ceilings – and pretty much defined Canada's athletics.

Clement ran for Canada at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, competing in the 100 and 220 yards and 440 yards. She was the first athlete in New Brunswick — male or female — to participate in the Summer or Winter Olympics.

In 1958, she participated in Cardiff, Wales, the Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal.

Clement became the first woman to become the UBC Athletics Coach, and the first woman to become the Canadian President of Athletics.

But she struggled with assumptions about what women can and cannot do long before she gets to work.

“Women had a choice in athletics (running) 100 or 200 meters, and (we were told), if we train more, we will not be able to give birth to children, and that was the mandate that we had at that time,” said she. he said.

“When you think about what women have achieved in all sports over decades, and they thought that we are so delicate that we can’t train more than 200 meters halfway. We have come a long way, and women have shown that if we train properly and have suitable trainers and support, we can do all this, ”she said.

Clement met her future husband Doug at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

Shortly after they got married, they received a phone call from Richmond City Hall, which said that if they opened a club, it would create a way for the municipality. The couple founded the Richmond Kayaks Athletics Club, which trained dozens of athletes who participated in the Olympics.

The couple served as co-chairs of the Athletes' Villages during the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Clement is also a co-founder of Vancouver Sun Run and the author of eight cookbooks promoting a healthy lifestyle.

She said that she and Doug, who celebrated their 60th birthday this year, continue to train together every other day. When they go to Ottawa for a ceremony in Rideau Hall, this will not be the first time: Doug was awarded the Order of Canada back in 1991.

“We were interested that another couple in Canada might have received this as well,” Clement said with a laugh. “Being honored means so much to me and my family.”

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