The summer Olympics are almost upon us. Did you know we have a former Olympian in our midst? When I was volunteering at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum today I found this picture from the old Carleton Place Canadian photo files at the museum.
Photo of John Edwards-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
1975 Almonte Gazette–After four years of trying, Carlton Place’s John Edwards has won a berth on the senior Canadian canoe team. John finished first in the mens. 100ft m tre C -l event and came second in the 500 metre event in Toronto last week-end. John will participate in the senior men’s world championships in Yugoslavia this summer.
John Edwards (born July 1, 1954) is a Canadian sprint canoer who competed in the mid-1970s. At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, he was eliminated in the repechages of the C-2 1000 m event while finishing ninth in the C-1 1000 m event.
Edwards grew up paddling at the Carleton Place Canoe Club in Carleton Place, Ontario, and became the first Olympic competitor from that club when he competed in C-1 1000m and C-2 1000m at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Edwards served as the Domestic Development Director at CanoeKayak Canada (CKC), then known as the Canadian Canoe Association, from 1999 until 2015. In that role, Edwards oversaw a period of significant evolution in the sport in Canada and around the world. Under Edwards, the number of racing clubs and the number of participants in the sport in Canada grew by an unprecedented amount. Edwards also initiated CKC’s Aboriginal Paddling Initiative and the PaddleALL program for paddlers with disabilities, and championed the expansion of opportunities for women in canoeing.
Edwards has also had significant influence on the sport internationally, serving as a member of the Board of the International Canoe Federation and as Chair of the ICF’s Paracanoe Committee. Edwards was the driving force behind acceptance of Paracanoe into the Paralympic Games, and his committee is charged with expanding the accessibility of the sport on a world-wide basis.
Concurrent with his employment at CKC, Edwards enjoyed a long career in politics, serving as a municipal councillor for Ramsay Ward in Mississippi Mills, Ontario for more than 17 years. He still holds that position today.
Edwards is married, with two daughters and four grandchildren.–Wikipedia
Well done John!!
NB-Andrew willows who was a paddler also made Carleton Place proud in the Olympics.
John Edwards speaks…
Thanks for the old photo from the archives. I still have my Olympic parade uniforms! It was such a great time for me in those days. I don’t know who did the Wikipedia biography…..just one error: I was at the 1972 Munich Olympics as well.
My ‘takeaway’ from my experience was the amount of support and faith the Town of Carleton Place put into me. I was only one of the beneficiaries of this positive attitude. Many others performed way beyond what a small town of 5,000 people (1970) could expect. I think of Janet Findlay, Madeleine Montreuil, Susan Gifford(:), Roger Tuttle, Linda Tuttle, Peter Pommerville, Eric Grantner, Lynn Armour, Andrew Shepherd, Scott MacIntosh, Helen Code, Steve Bittle, John Drader, all of whom went on to become Champions of Canada, Canada Games Ontario Team members, Junior National Team members or Canadian Senior Team members.
CPCC punched way above its weight and it did so because we believed we could and the whole Town supported us. It was simply a question of faith and a positive attitude.
Between 1988 and 1993, I was Commodore and with Susan’s youth leadership was able to reinvigorate our attitude of faith in young paddlers. Two more Olympic paddlers were produced; Ryan Cuthbert and Andrew Willows (Athens & Beijing). Good coaching was always the solution.
Today CPCC paddlers are still participating in national team projects for the next generation.
Think BIG and have faith!!