Dream your dream and follow it through, Olympic gold medallist Beckie Scott told athletes, coaches and volunteers gathered for Red Deer’s annual Community Sport Awards on Sunday.
Scott’s bronze medal for cross-country skiing in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics was upgraded to Silver and then to Gold after the two women who finished ahead of her both tested positive for drugs.
When Scott told her mother how unfair it was to compete against cheaters, her mother said that she had two choices. She could do something about it or remain silent, in which case she would be part of the problem.
Scott bit the bullet and spoke out.
“There were a lot of times and moments that I was very nervous and I really had my doubts. But it always came back to these are values, this is what it means to be true to myself and this is worth fighting for. Clean sport, fair sport, fair play.”
The campaign against drugs and doping netted the results Scott and her allies were seeking, with the International Olympic Committee recognizing the need to clean up their sport.
“This medal was so much more than me. It was about the little guy. It was hope for the athletes for fair sport and clean sport and value-based sporting,” said Scott.
Her pep talk led into annual awards for people who have made extraordinary contributions to the sports community in Red Deer, including the Dr. J. B. Long Lifetime Achievement Award, given this year to Advocate sports writer Danny Rode.
In his acceptance speech on Sunday, Rode said he felt honoured to be acknowledged for his work, including coverage of more than 50 national championships.
He was hired in 1971 by Don Drummond, sports editor at the time, who was looking for more extensive coverage of amateur sports, with emphasis on Red Deer College.
Rode had no journalism training and didn’t know how to type. However, of the 18 applicants for the job, he was the one who was able to put a decent story together from an assortment of facts provided by his future boss.
Emcee Joe Whitbread said that, in the ensuing four decades, Rode has probably watched more college sporting events than any other person in Canada.
His efforts earned him a spot in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 for work that has been consistently fair and honest, said Whitbread.
“Danny is more than just a reporter. He is a builder and a champion, supporting amateur athletics in Central Alberta,” he said.
Athletes named to major awards include masters athletes (35 years and older) Jeff Stokoe and Mary Gardiner, open adults Robert Pierce and Lisa Dahlke and junior athletes Kieran McDonald and Kelsie Caine.