Lyn Radford’s name became almost synonymous with the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Even as the Games approached, Radford was so uber-focused she didn’t even realize this new recognition was about something different. Radford was selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Sport Achievement Award, sponsored by the City of Red Deer. She was shocked to learn she would receive the honour.
“I was very surprised. I thought they were just calling to congratulate me on the Games,” Radford said. “When you focus on the sport piece of it, there’s been a little bit of sport involved. Loved it and hope that I’ve left the community in a little better place than it was before. That’s what we all should strive for.”
Radford has been an essential cog in the community sports wheel in Red Deer, since she arrived here over 30 years ago. She said it was just a natural thing to get involved in the community and she saw it as a chance to help kids further their athletic careers at home. From her involvement in the gymnastics club, ski club, Alberta Summer Games and the Canada Winter Games, Radford has long helped make Red Deer a better place for young athletes.
“A lot of that prompted me to think bigger. We’ve got to think about how we can do this in our community,” she said. “We had to figure out a way that we could compete with the larger cities and keep our athletes home and then you’re going to have stronger leaders in the long run.”
Most recently, Radford’s impact has been felt as the 2019 Canada Winter Games arrived in Red Deer. She was the board chair for the 2019 Canada Winter Games host society that helped bring the Games to town. Part of that was the vision to inspire young kids in Central Alberta to get involved in sport. It especially hit home when she considered the ages of her own grandchildren and the impact the Games could have on them.
“My oldest grandchild just turned 12 and it goes all the way down to 2. When you think, from 2-12, who is the next generation that is going to benefit the most from everything that happened with the Canada Winter Games. It’s them,” she said.
“I realized there were some opportunities that were missed by my own kids because we didn’t have the right opportunities or athlete development program.”
She added that over the years, she’s been lucky to have success in various volunteer ventures, which was another factor that kept her coming back. But she noted that bringing people together to help out was one of the more important aspects of working with community groups and helped further the chances of young athletes to have success here.
“One of the things I always want to stress is that it’s fine to have a vision and fine to help. But it’s to have other people buy into what you see can be done to improve and you always have to thank those people because it’s the initial buy-in to get the ball rolling,” she added.
I never go out with just my hand out, I always go in with the concept we all have to pull in. We all have to have skin in the game or it’s not going to work.”
Radford also helped establish the Alberta Sport Development Centre- Central, and believes that all her lobbying for better facilities locally and pushing to keep athletes in Red Deer, has been a worthwhile endeavour.
“It’s just a sense of pride to think that maybe some of these past contributions have allowed for these other opportunities to happen,” Radford said, along with extending a congratulation to the Advocate Male and Female Athletes of the Year.