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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DOUG ROGERS

Inducted in 1977

Member Details

Date of Birth: January 26, 1941
Place of Birth: Truro, Nova Scotia
Sport: Judo
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1964-1967, 1972

Canadian judo champion - heavyweight

1964

Tokyo Olympic Games - Silver medal, judo (heavyweight)

1965

Pan-American judo champion - heavyweight and open class

World judo championships - Bronze medal (heavyweight)

All-Japan University Championships - tournament’s outstanding fighter

1967

Pan-American Games - Gold medal (open class)

1971

Canada Winter Games - Gold medal, judo (heavyweight)

Honoured Member DOUG ROGERS
Inspire

Story

In becoming Canada's first great judoka, Doug Rogers travelled to the sport's ancestral home in Japan to nurture his own physical gifts. He was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, the son of a minister, but it was at McGill University in the late 1950s that he got interested in judo, practicing at the local YMCA. He decided to dedicate himself full-time to judo and in 1960 moved to Japan to train. He took a job teaching English and joined the famed dojo, Kodokan, where he competed against judoka from the police academy as well as Takushoku University, whose judoka were coached by the legendary Kimura Masahiko. After three-and-a-half years in Japan, Rogers had become an accomplished judoka and was selected to Canada's 1964 Olympic team. Rogers was the dominant figure in Canadian judo in the mid-1960s, winning the national heavyweight championship four years running from 1964 to 1967. But it was back in Japan, at the 1964 Olympic Games, that he made his mark on the international scene. In the semi-finals of the heavyweight competition at Tokyo's Budokan, Rogers won a clear decision over the competitor from the Soviet Union. Only ten minutes later, however, he was back to face Japan's famed champion Isao Inokuma. They had trained against one another at the Kodokan. Neither judoka was able to score a decisive victory and Inokuma was awarded a close decision, with Rogers settling for a silver medal. After the Olympics, Rogers remained in Japan to train full-time with sensei Kimura at Takushoku University. Despite his 1964 Olympic success, 1965 was perhaps the greatest year of Rogers' competitive career. At the Pan-American judo championships he captured both the heavyweight and open class titles. At the world championships, he won bronze in the heavyweight event. Finally, he competed in the All-Japan university championships with the Takushoku university team. He was the first foreigner to ever compete in this event and he was named the tournament's outstanding fighter. Following his success in Japan, Rogers returned to Canada to begin a career as a professional pilot. He continued training for the 1967 Pan-American Games, held that year in Winnipeg. In front of the home crowd, Rogers was upset in the heavyweight final, settling for a silver medal, but he captured one of Canada's 12 gold medals at the Games in the open class. As judo was left off both the 1968 Olympic and 1971 Pan-Am programs and received only limited funding, the incentive to train full-time was minimal and Rogers effectively ended his competitive career. Rogers made a comeback in 1971, however, training this time in Canada. He won the heavyweight gold medal at the 1971 Canada Winger Games, recaptured the national heavyweight judo championship in 1972, and was named to the 1972 Canadian Olympic team. He was also given the honour of being Canada's flag bearer at the Games' opening ceremonies and led Canada's 250-athlete contingent into Munich's Olympic Stadium. Rogers competed in both the heavyweight and open class and acquitted himself well by reaching the quarter-finals in both events. He finished in seventh place as a heavyweight and just missed a spot on the podium with a fourth-place finish in the open class. The Munich Olympics marked the end of Rogers' international judo career. He returned to flying and also began coaching. Between 1975 and 1977, he coached the University of British Columbia judo team to three consecutive western Canada university championships.


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