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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Class of 2016 Bios

Michael "Pinball" Clemons Colleen Jones
Stephanie Dixon Annie Perreault
Dr. Frank Hayden Bryan Trottier
Sue Holloway  

 



Michael "Pinball" Clemons - Athlete, Football

Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons began his incredible career in the Canadian Football League in 1989 after having played for a brief time in the National Football League.  At only 5 feet 5 inches and 166 pounds, he was never the biggest player on the field, unless you were sizing up his spirit.  Michael’s nickname ‘Pinball’ was affectionately given to him for his running style, limitless energy, and extraordinary balance, which allowed him to bounce off opponents and continue down the field when everyone was sure he would be tackled. Michael has been praised countless times by teammates and coaches for his outstanding athletic ability, team attitude, integrity, and drive to win.  Renowned as one of the CFL’s most hard working and electrifying players, Michael is one of the most respected athletes in Canadian sports.

As a Toronto Argonauts player, Michael won three Grey Cup Championships (1991, 1996 & 1997) and remains the pro-football record holder for most career all-purpose yards with 25,483. Michael retired with 12 all-time team records to his credit, including: career pass receptions (682); career punt returns (610), punt return yards (6,025) and punt return touchdowns (8); career kickoff returns (300) and kickoff return yards (6,349); single season punt returns (111) and return yards (1,070); and single season kickoff returns (49) and single game kickoff returns (8). Michael was the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player in 1990, named Canadian Football League All-Star twice (1990, 1997), East Division All-Star on four occasions (1990, 1993, 1994, 1997), and earned two Tom Pate Awards (1993, 1996) in recognition of his community work while playing.

On September 15, 2000, Michael hung up his Argo’s jersey after 12 seasons to take over as Head Coach. In 2004, he led the team to its first Grey Cup Victory since 1997, his first as Head Coach. In 2007, the Argos finished in first place for the second time under his guidance. He is the second-winningest coach in Argo history with 68 wins.  Michael earned recognition five times as a finalist for Coach of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006. Michael currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Toronto Argonauts.

Michael redefines what it means to support a community and has been recognized for his tireless work with charities, schools and community groups.  During his playing days, Michael was consistently one of the most giving athletes in Toronto, spending his time with sick children in hospitals, collecting food and toys for charities, and regularly visiting schools to inspire youth to stay in school and reach for their dreams. Although Michael was born in the US, in 2015, he officially became a Canadian citizen and has dedicated his life to making his adopted city of Toronto better every day. Michael invests a great deal of his time with the Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons Foundation, which helps change the lives of thousands of Toronto youth, while also raising funds to build more than 200 schools in Africa. 


Stephanie Dixon - Athlete, Para-swimming

Stephanie Dixon, a three-time Paralympian and multiple world record holder from Brampton, Ontario, is considered to be one of the best swimmers in the world. She was born without her right hip and leg and began swimming lessons when she was two years old.  At 13, Stephanie began swimming competitively against athletes without disabilities at the local, provincial and national level. By 14, she had made Canada’s national team for swimmers with a disability.

At only 16, Stephanie won five Gold and two Silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games with world records in the 100-metre backstroke, and the 100 and 400-metre freestyle events. At the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, she won one Gold, six Silver and one Bronze medal, setting a world record in the 100-metre backstroke. At the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships in South Africa, she re-broke her 100-metre backstroke world record en route to winning Gold. In 2008, at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, Stephanie won one Gold, two Silver, and a Bronze medal, and once again set the new standard with a world record mark in the 100-metre backstroke.

When she retired in 2010, Stephanie had earned 19 Paralympic medals (7 Gold, 10 Silver and 2 Bronze) and 7 Parapan American medals (6 Gold & 1 Silver) and still remains the short course world record holder in the S9 100 and 200-metre backstroke events. She previously held 10 individual world records in the S9 classification, and was also a part of two world record-breaking relay teams.

Stephanie’s outstanding achievements extend beyond the pool through her commitment to her community. She has been a champion for the Paralympic movement in Canada, and a tireless promoter of parasport as a keynote speaker, blogger, broadcaster, and mentor. Stephanie served as an Ambassador for the Rio 2007 Parapan American Games, where she raised awareness around the need for equal sporting opportunities for all athletes. She was part of the broadcast team for the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games, and was named Team Canada’s Assistant Chef de Mission for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. 

Stephanie credits her parents for encouraging her to try new things and not to worry about being different from others. Her parents enrolled her in many different sports, but she always felt most at home in the pool. Stephanie believes that sport is about challenging yourself to become the greatest athlete possible and to bring out the best in yourself. Stephanie continues her life’s passion as an advocate for Disability Rights with the Yukon Human Rights Commission.


Dr. Frank Hayden - Builder, Special Olympics

Dr. Frank Hayden, a creator of the worldwide Special Olympics Movement, has had a profound effect on individuals with an intellectual disability in Canada and around the world. As a faculty member at the University of Toronto in the early 1960’s, his study of children with intellectual disabilities revealed that they were half as physically fit as their non-disabled peers. It was assumed that their low fitness levels were directly connected to their disability. As a sports scientist, Frank conducted research into the effect of exercise on people with an intellectual disability, concluding that given the chance, they could indeed become physically fit, and gain the skills necessary to participate in sport. His research was ground-breaking, disproving the prevailing beliefs of his time.

Inspired by his discoveries, Frank began exploring how to develop a national sports program for people with an intellectual disability. In 1964, he presented his research at the first International Congress on the Psychology of Sport in Rome and also published a testing and training manual which had major circulation across Canada and the United States.  He was convinced that sport was the answer and designed and proposed a national program of sport training and competition in Canada. His work came to the attention of the Kennedy Foundation in Washington, D.C. and, in 1965, he moved to Washington to work alongside the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics. In 1968, he was integral to the first Special Olympics Games held at Chicago’s Soldier Field. By the early 1970s - in just a few short years - Special Olympics had a presence in all 50 United States. The first Special Olympics Games in Canada were held in June, 1969 in Toronto with 1400 athletes from across the country.

In 1981, Frank started Special Olympics International's Office of International Development and served as its first Director until 1984, establishing national organizations and programs throughout the world. In 1988 he moved to Paris to establish and direct the Office of European Affairs for Special Olympics International. In 1997 Frank was made an Honorary and Permanent Member of the Canadian Olympic Association, in 2000 an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 2010 a Member of the Order of Ontario.

Frank’s involvement in the creation of Special Olympics has made an invaluable difference to the lives of those with intellectual disabilities in Canada and around the world.  Today, over 4.5 million athletes from more than 170 countries participate in Special Olympics. The growth of the Special Olympics Movement has had a broader societal impact – the realization that people with an intellectual disability have capabilities that extend beyond the field of play and into the workplace, schools and communities. For nearly 50 years, Special Olympics has used sport as the catalyst for creating a more inclusive world for all. Frank is known throughout the world for his contagious enthusiasm and for building a better world for youth through sport.


Sue Holloway - Athlete, Cross Country Skiing & Canoe-Kayak

Four-time Olympian Sue Holloway was the first woman in the world to ever compete at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games in the same year when she competed in cross country skiing and kayaking in 1976. Sue grew up in Ottawa, and represented Ontario at the Canada Winter Games in 1971 in skiing and joined both national teams for skiing and paddling in 1973. In 1975, Sue was the Canadian champion in skiing (5km classic) and kayaking (K1-500 and 6,000m, K2-500m, and K4-500m). The following year, she was selected to represent her nation at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympic Winter Games in the 10-km cross-country ski race and the 4 x 5km relay. She returned home to Canada and that summer raced at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in the K1-500m and K2-500m.

In 1979, Sue was the first woman to compete in the challenging all-male Molokai Hoe Race in Hawaii, finishing third. Sue focused on kayaking intending to make the 1980 Olympic team, but her hopes were crushed when Canada boycotted the Games. Not only could she not compete, but was unable to carry out the honour of being the nation’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies. Refusing to give up, she continued to train and qualified for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where she won Silver in the K2-500m and Bronze in the K4-500m.

Sue retired shortly after, ending a 14 year career as an athlete. She began coaching, motivational speaking and working with the Canadian Olympic Committee, where she developed a career planning programs for national team athletes. She has worked tirelessly to help youth, with the focus on inspiring kids to get physically active.

Sue is an event planner, world champion dragon boat competitor and devotes countless hours to coaching cross country skiing to teach and motivate the next generation of athletes.


Colleen Jones - Athlete, Curling

Hailing from a family of Nova Scotian curlers, Colleen Jones is best known as the successful skip whose team won two World Championships and the Tournament of Hearts six times. In a family of eight girls and a boy, or “two curling teams plus a spare”, Colleen found success in competitive curling from an early age. In 1979, she was only 19 years old when she won her first of 16 Nova Scotia curling titles, ultimately spanning four decades. In 1979, Colleen represented Nova Scotia at the Canada Winter Games, capturing a Silver medal, tying the best finish for a Nova Scotia team, male or female, in Canada Games history.  In 1980, she competed in the Canadian Women’s Curling Championships, finishing second.

In 1982 she became the youngest skip, at age 22, ever to win the Canadian Women's Curling Championship. Colleen has competed with seven mixed teams, twice winning the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in 1993 and 1999. She has appeared in a record 21 Canadian Championships, winning six (1982, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004) and becoming the first skip to win four consecutive titles.  In 2001, Colleen won the first of her two World Championships in Switzerland, repeating the win in 2004 in Sweden.  In 2011, Colleen and her team won the Nova Scotia Women’s Senior Curling Canada Championship. Colleen has appeared in 4 Canadian Women’s Senior Curling Championships (2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), earning a Bronze in 2012 and Silver in 2015.

Colleen works tirelessly to promote curling and exemplifies the passion and skill that it takes to still be a top ranked curler after more than 35 years on the ice. Colleen is proud to be from Nova Scotia, and show future generations that you can come from a small province and still compete and win.


Annie Perreault - Athlete, Speed Skating

Annie Perreault, a three-time Olympian from Sherbrooke, QC, began speed skating in 1977 at the age of six, alongside her sister and brother.  Annie was a member of Team Quebec in the 1987 Canada Winter Games winning 3 Gold medals in speed skating. She began competing at the international level in 1990 and soon dominated the world scene by winning her first of four World Championships (1990, 1991, 1992 and 1997) as part of a 3000-metre relay team. Annie competed in the 1992 Albertville Olympic Winter Games where her team won the inaugural Gold medal in the women's relay.

Unfortunately, a severe concussion sustained at the Canadian Olympic trials prevented Annie from competing at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games. Four years later, she was struck by another setback when, five months before the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games, Annie was forced to have surgery on both shins to relieve a chronic issue. Regardless of this major obstacle, she was still able to win Olympic Gold in the 500-metre, and a Bronze in the relay.

Annie’s skating career almost ended in 2000. During a 1500-metre race, a competitor crashed into her, lacerating three muscles in her left thigh which would require surgery and months of rehabilitation to repair. No stranger to overcoming obstacles, Annie worked incredibly hard to return to form and qualify for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games.

During her 26-year speed skating career, Annie was a member of the national team for 16 years and competed at 10 World Championships. Annie is known not just for her success, but for her dedication and perseverance during her career. As a result, she is an outstanding role model to the younger generation that has followed in her footsteps. Annie helps raise funds to provide training and scholarships to athletes “on the road to excellence” through the charity golf tournament in her name.


Bryan Trottier - Athlete, Ice Hockey

Bryan Trottier, hailing from Val Marie, Saskatchewan, was a modern-day player with the skills of past champions. He was a defensively strong centerman with the vision and instincts of a pure scorer. Like many Canadian children, Bryan’s hockey career started on a makeshift outdoor rink, but with a uniquely Canadian twist. Every year, the resident beavers would build a dam on the nearby river, and come winter, Bryan’s father would use a big machete and chop up the dam to flood the creek and create a fresh, smooth “zamboni like” ice rink.

Bryan began his major junior career with the Swift Current Broncos in 1972. In 1975, he was named MVP for both the Western Canadian Hockey League and the World Junior Hockey Championships.  At 18, Bryan was drafted by the NHL’s New York Islanders and over an 18-year career,  led his teams to the Stanley Cup six times, including four consecutive Stanley Cup wins with the New York Islanders (1980 – 1983) and back-to-back Stanley Cup wins with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 & 1992).

Bryan was the winner of the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie in 1976, the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer in 1979, the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player in 1979 and the Conn Smythe Trophy as team playoff MVP in 1980. Bryan is one of three players in the history of the NHL to have won these four major awards and at least two Stanley Cups. In 1989, Bryan received the King Clancy Memorial trophy for his high standard of play on the ice and charitable community efforts off the ice.

Bryan spent the 1992-93 hockey season in the Islanders' front office before returning as a player in 1993-94 at the age of 37. He played 41 games with the Penguins while acting as an assistant coach and remained with the team until 1997 as a full time assistant coach. In 1998, Bryan joined the Colorado Avalanche as an assistant coach, helping his new team claim a Stanley Cup championship in 2001, adding a seventh Stanley Cup ring to his already impressive haul. In 2002, Bryan was named head coach of the New York Rangers. From 2006-2010, he was Executive Director of Player Development for the New York Islanders and in 2014 he was hired as assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.

Bryan holds the NHL record for the most points in a single period with six (four goals and two assists).  Bryan held NHL records as the fastest player to reach 300, 400, 500, 600, & 700, 800 & 900 points; and also the fastest to record 200 & 300 assists; and the youngest player to score 200 goals. He also held the record for most points scored (96) and assists by a rookie (63). He currently shares the NHL record for the fastest goal scored from the start of a game at five seconds. He finished his career with 524 goals, 901 assists and 1425 points and ranked 6th in NHL history.

Being from aboriginal ancestry (Metis-Cree/Chippewa), Bryan has reached out to First Nations youth across Canada. He was instrumental in starting an Aboriginal Hockey Team which has toured across the country to provide ice skating lessons and hockey clinics to youth. Believing in the value of education and encouraging young people to make positive choices in their lives, Bryan has proudly championed this cause through sport to thousands of youth across Canada.

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