Olympic award named for Terry Fox

A new Olympic award, named for Canadian icon Terry Fox, will honour an athlete exemplifying courage, perseverance and humility during the Vancouver Winter Games.

John Furlong

John Furlong

OTTAWA — A new Olympic award, named for Canadian icon Terry Fox, will honour an athlete exemplifying courage, perseverance and humility during the Vancouver Winter Games.

Olympic organizers, who announced the creation of the award on Friday, say the athlete will be chosen by a panel that includes sportscaster Brian Williams and a member of the Fox family.

The award will recognize the grit and determination shown by Fox during his 1980 cross-country marathon of hope.

Fox, who lost a leg to cancer at the age of 18, cut short his cross-country run near Thunder Bay, Ont., after hobbling more than 5,000 kilometres.

The lung cancer that brought his run to an end killed him June 28, 1981, but his example inspired the annual Terry Fox runs, which have raised $500 million for cancer research.

“Few people have touched the soul of this great nation like Terry Fox did,” said John Furlong, CEO of the organizing committee, who made the announcement near the bronze Terry Fox statue opposite the Parliament Buildings.

“This award will be presented to an athlete who embodies the same values that Terry Fox did,” Furlong said. “This athlete will be someone who is the epitome of determination in motion, who pushed on no matter what the pain or obstacles in their path and touched Canada and the world by displaying humility and selflessness in their treatment of others both on and off the field of play — a veritable hero.”

Fox’s brother, Darrell, expressed the family’s appreciation.

“As a teenager, Terry was an avid athlete in basketball, soccer and rugby and would be proud to be recognized on the world stage as part of the Olympic Winter Games.”