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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

JONATHON POWER

Inducted in 2006

Member Details

Date of Birth: August 9, 1974
Place of Birth: Comox, British Columbia
Sport: Squash
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1997

Won the U.S. Open title, the first Canadian to do so

2002

Won gold medal at Commonwealth Games

2006

Retired from professional squash as the number-one player in the world

Honoured Member JONATHON POWER
Inspire

Story

In 1996, Jonathon Power was ranked 47th in the squash world rankings. A year later, he was number six, and in May 1999, he was number one. It was nothing short of a meteoric rise for a Canadian in a decidedly un-Canadian sport. Power won several smaller tournaments between October 1996 and February 1997, but his breakthrough came in October 1997 when he won the prestigious U.S. Open, the first Canadian to do so. The moment that brought him world fame, however, came a month later at the Qatar Open. There he beat world number-one Jansher Khan in the semi-finals and second-ranked Peter Nicol in the finals to move into number three. It was the first time he had beaten Khan, his idol, in international (i.e., softball) play. Power's style of play was popular with tournament organizers and fans alike. For starters, he was emotional and sometimes temperamental, drawing comparisons to John McEnroe, the enfant terrible of tennis in the 1980s. For a sport in need of some good, old-fashioned publicity, this was not a bad thing. Then, Power was also known for short points, choosing to gamble and win or lose points quickly rather than enter into lengthy, and exhausting, rallies. For this, he was lauded. Buoyed by his success, Power continued to climb in the rankings, piling up one win after another. After defeating Nicol again in December 1998 at the World Open in Qatar and again a month later in the Tournament of Champions, Power had achieved a most improbable and remarkable goal, world number one. For the next seven years, he maintained a top-five ranking, many months at the top, others near the top. Yet his ascent had not come without a price. Pro at 15 and tournament weary, Power suffered a series of injuries that prevented him from reaching peak form every week. After becoming the first North American to be ranked number one, his next greatest thrill came at the 2002 Commonwealth Games when he beat Nicol to win won gold in Manchester, England, Nicol's backyard, as it were. He played his final match in New York in March 2006, losing in the quarter-finals of the Tournament of Champions but going out still ranked number one. He had won 36 tournaments, traveled the world, and made squash history. It was now time to move on.


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