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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

ALEX DECOTEAU

Inducted in 2015

Member Details

Date of Birth: 1887
Place of Birth: Battleford, Saskatchewan
Date of Passing: 1917
Sport: Athletics
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1909

Alex set a new Western Canadian record at the Mayberry Cup, completing the five-mile in 27 minutes and 45.2 seconds.

Honoured Member ALEX DECOTEAU
Inspire

Story

Alex Wuttunee Decoteau was Canada’s first full-blooded aboriginal police officer in a municipal force and an outstanding athlete with an incredible record of achievement, made even more astonishing when considering his very short life.

Alex was born on the Red Pheasant Reserve south of Battleford in present day Saskatchewan. He excelled at boxing, cricket, soccer, and running.  He came second in his first competitive event, the one-mile at Fort Saskatchewan in 1909. That was followed months later by a five-mile winning race with a time of 28 minutes and 41 seconds. That same year Alex set a new Western Canadian record at the Mayberry Cup, completing the five-mile in 27 minutes and 45.2 seconds. Alex could win at various distances including the half-mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 5 mile, and 6 1/3 miles and it became typical for Alex to run and win in several distance competitions in the same day.  A number of trophies were permanently awarded to Alex because he was winning them so often that officials decided they were better off dispensing with the formalities of having him compete for them.

Alex ran in two notable events in Europe during WWI including winning a five-mile race in Salisbury, England.  King George V, who was presiding over the event, awarded Alex his own gold pocket watch which he treasured. The very next day, Alex ran to the site of what he believed was a foot race, but discovered it was a bicycle sprint instead.  True to his amazing talents, he borrowed a bike and won the race. Alex made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in the Battle of Passchendaele when he was killed by a sniper’s bullet, just shy of his 30th birthday.


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