post-it-member post-it-club-finder post-it-coaching post-it-donate
 Latest News  Recent News Headlines

Jun 14 2019 - New Brunswick’s Track & Field History by Rod MacKenzie, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2, our second installment on the History of National and International Performances by New Brunswick Track and Field athletes over the last one hundred years. We hope you enjoyed our Part 1 segment on the Olympic Games.

Today, we will look back at the eight NB athletes who represented Canada at the British Commonwealth Games from 1930-2018. As many of you know, the international world of track and field has had, for some time now, a wonderful competitive celebration of the world’s best, highlighted by the top level competitions at Olympic Games (1896-2016), Pan American Games (1951-2015), British Empire/Commonwealth Games (1930-2018), and the more recent World Outdoor Championships (1983-2017). The Commonwealth Games were essentially born out of early “meetings of the sporting minds” just around the turn of the 20th Century. John Astley Cooper wrote an article in the London Times in 1900, suggesting a sporting festival every four years as a means of promoting goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire.  This proposed sporting tradition began with the Festival of Empire sports meeting, which took place in London as part of events connected with the coronation of King George V in 1911. This involved athletics, boxing, wrestling and swimming events.

 Later suggestions and proposals that an Empire-based, regular sporting competition to parallel the Olympic Games be held every four years, did not bear fruit until 1930. This followed a Canadian initiative under the direction of Melvin Marks Robinson, a Canadian who managed our 1928 Olympic Track team in Amsterdam.  Canada actually introduced and hosted the very first British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Aug. 16-23, 1930. Eleven countries sent a total of 400 athletes to these first British Empire Games.  Six sports were featured: Athletics/Track and Field, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming/diving, and wrestling. Women were only able to compete in the Aquatic events. Over the next forty plus years, these multi-sport Games would be known as: the British Empire Games, 1930-1950; the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, 1954-1966; the British Commonwealth Games, 1970 and 1974; and finally, as we know it today, the Commonwealth Games (1978-2018).

In Hamilton, 1930, the first Games Track competition, held at Civic Stadium, only included 21 male events, and all races and measurements were done in imperial units of miles, yards, feet & inches. The event schedule compared favourably to what we see today, with the absence of racewalk and decathlon. Host Canada ranked second to England, with 6 golds and 19 total medals. The 100 yards was won by the famous Percy Williams of Canada, the Olympic champ from 1928.

The 3rd edition of the British Empire Games in 1938, in Sydney, Australia Feb. 5-12, witnessed the very first NB athlete to appear in this competition, and only the third international athlete in our history, following our two Olympians, Maynes and Miller, from 1924. Sigurd (“Sig”) Nielsen,  (apologies, as his name has been spelled three different ways in various sources) a 21 year old Mt A student from the Plaster Rock area, was a sprinter and well known rugby player who was selected to the Canadian team to run the 100 and 220 yard races. Five months previous, in September, 1937, he set a Canadian record of 9.6 for 100 yards, running a meet in Saint John. At the 1938 British Empire Games, Sig made it out of his heats in the 100 (winning the heat or finishing 3rd depending on the source of information), and narrowly missed the final, finishing 5th in his semi-final in 10.3 (electric time). In the 220, Nielsen finished 4th in his heat and did not move on.  Still young then, there is little information available to indicate any future results from him on the track after 1938. His provincial (and Canadian) record of 9.6 stood for more than thirty years, and to this day, his performance still ranks among the top 3 or 4 all-time by a New  Brunswicker !

The 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games were hosted by Canada in Vancouver in early August and it was there that a 17 year old recent Fredericton High grad wore Canada’s colours for three events.  Margery Squires, a talented sprinter, hurdler and long jumper, ran the heats of the 100 yds in 11.5, finishing 7th  in her race and 14th overall; she long jumped 5.30m in her specialty and placed 8th of 14 (3rd ranked CDN); and finally, she became our very first ever medal winner in international competition by winning BRONZE with the 4 x 110 yd relay team !! Margery and her teammates, Annabelle Murray, Dorothy Kozak and Geraldine Bemister, ran for third in 47.8 in the women’s sprint relay, which replaced the old medley relay of 110-220-110 !! Also in these Games, the shot put and discus were introduced as new events for women, and there were a total of 21 track events held for men, and 9 for the ladies ! Margery Squires, a member of the Fredericton Sports Wall of Fame, was a highly ranked long jumper in Canada and a silver medallist at National Seniors who once unofficially broke the Canadian Women’s Long Jump record. Her PB of  5.41m (17 ft 9 in) stood as our provincial record for almost 25 years, and still ranks high on our all-time provincial list. The athletic gene pool ran deep for this family, as her daughter  Susan  competed for NB in the 1977 Canada Games, and once held our provincial 100m record at 12.0; also, Margery’s granddaughter Sarah ran for us in the 2009 and 2013 Canada Games, & was on the provincial record team in the ladies 4 x 400m relay in both Games ! 

Our next participant in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games was Moncton born 1956 Olympian Diane Matheson. As a top ranked Canadian sprinter in both 100 & 220 yards and former national record holder, she was selected to the women’s 4 x 110 yd relay team for the 1958 Games in Cardiff, Wales.  There, in late July,  21 year old Diane and her running mates of Eleanor Haslam, Freyda Berman and Maureen Rever, sped to a 47.21 and a BRONZE medal !! For the second consecutive Empire Games, a New Brunswick track athlete captures a RELAY BRONZE !! Wow . . . To the best of our knowledge, they are the only athletes from this province to ever medal in a relay internationally in a major Games. Diane would go on to great heights in Track and Field Administration over the years, as a co-founder of the Richmond, BC Kajaks Club (with her husband, ex-Olympian runner Doug Clement), and also as the President of Athletics Canada (CDN T & F Association at the time) in the mid 70’s !!

Edith Priscilla Patricia (“Pat”) Dobie was a 1957 grad of FHS and a talented multi-sport athlete who is a member of several Halls/Walls of Fame in two different provinces in several sports. She won an incredible 16 medals in CDN SR National Track Championships from 1957-62, in the shot put, discus, javelin, and the sprint hurdles, representing either NB or Saskatchewan. She’s probably our only athlete to ever medal at CDN SRS in both a track event and a field event !! She was National Champ a total of  NINE  times !! Incredible !! Pat was 23 years old when she qualified to represent us at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth,  western  Australia in late November. There, she threw a CDN record 44.44m while placing 5th of 6 in the javelin,  then followed up with a 39.90m toss in the discus, ranking her 7th of 7 in the competition.  In each event, she was the only Canadian girl competing.  Five months later, Pat would represent Canada with a fine 4th place finish in the ladies javelin at the Pan American Games in Sao Paulo , Brazil !!  All of her career pb’s  in  the throwing events still rank today among the 4 or 5 best ever in our Track history !  Quite a career indeed  . . . .   

It would be 16 years and four more Games before NB would see another Track & Field athlete represent Canada at the now newly named “Commonwealth Games”.  Edmonton, Alberta in August, 1978, would become the third Canadian city to host these Games and saw our own John (Giovanni) Corazza of Moncton/Ottawa, throw the javelin on August 7th at the age of 24. Corazza, the first NB javelin thrower to exceed the 200 foot/60m mark in the early 70’s, was a veteran at Nationals, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze over a five year span while being coached by Bill Heikkila of Ottawa. In the ’78 Commonwealth Games, Corazza threw 69.14m to place 10th of twelve in the first ever “metric” Games.  John also competed in the World University Games in Bulgaria in 1977, the World Cup Trials in Mexico, 1979, and was named to the 1980 CDN Olympic Team for Moscow, which unfortunately resulted in a western boycott. As a replacement for the missed Olympics, Corazza toured the Scandinavian region of Europe, defeating some of the top ranked throwers in the world, and threw a PB of 84.34 metres, one of the best throws ever by a Canadian at the time !! He would later be involved in coaching here at home that saw him coach two of NB’s best ever, national Javelin champs Jason Spalding and Caleb Jones.

The 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, BC, was a first for New Brunswick, as we had TWO athletes make the CDN team for the first time ever in this competition. Willy Best, a 24 year old 800m runner, and 23 year old Steeplechaser Joel Bourgeois, both wore the red & white on home soil for the Fifteenth edition of the Games. Best placed a strong 3rd in his 800m heat in 1:47.48, ranked 7th overall, and moved on to the semi’s where he placed 6th in his race in 1:49.97, missing the final and ranking 14th out of 27 overall. He also was selected to run a leg of the CDN 4 x 400m relay, where Canada ran 3:07.81 to finish 10th out of twelve teams, just missing the final. Joel Bourgeois, meanwhile, made his first of three career appearances at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria by placing 6th overall in 8:31.19. Four years later, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Joel ran to a fine 4th place finish in the 3k steeple, running 8:34.50,  trailing only the Kenyans. His final appearance in this competition came in 2002, at the age of 31, as he finished in 8:33.98, to place 5th overall in Manchester, England.  Bourgeois had an outstanding international career, spanning 13 years, and topped it off with two medals each at Pan Am Games (gold 1999, silver 2003) and a silver (1995) and bronze (1999) at the World University Games.

Our final honoree in this category represented Canada recently at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (officially the 21st version) on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, in early April.  These Games were celebrated as being the first time a major multi-sport event achieved gender equality by having an equal number of events for male and female athletes. Genevieve Lalonde, of Moncton, and training out of Guelph, Ontario, finished 7th  out of ten overall in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, running a time of 9:46.68. She was the lone Canadian entry in the April 11th evening race at the Carrara Stadium. As of June, 2019, Gen has now competed in one Olympics, two outdoor Worlds, one Commonwealth Games and one Pan Am Games, and now has her eyes set on the 2019 Pan Ams, 2019 Worlds, and next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Stay tuned for Part 3 and our look back at the Pan American Game.  Comments, additions, corrections welcomed at

2019-10-23 - NBIAA Recap
2019-10-19 - 2019 Women's Running Summit- Victoria LeBlanc
2019-10-16 - 2019 Women's Running Summit- Shawna Allaby
2019-10-12 - Notice of Athletics New Brunswick Annual General Meeting
2019-10-11 - Bernice MacNaughton High School & École Sainte-Anne to host NBIAA Regionals this weekend

 News by Month
October 2019 September 2019 August 2019
July 2019 June 2019 May 2019
April 2019 March 2019 February 2019
January 2019 December 2018 November 2018
October 2018 September 2018 August 2018
July 2018 June 2018 May 2018
April 2018 March 2018 February 2018
January 2018 December 2017 November 2017
October 2017 September 2017 August 2017
July 2017 June 2017 May 2017
April 2017 March 2017 February 2017
January 2017 December 2016 November 2016
October 2016 September 2016 August 2016
July 2016 June 2016 May 2016
April 2016 March 2016 February 2016
January 2016 December 2015 November 2015
October 2015 September 2015 August 2015
July 2015 June 2015 May 2015
April 2015 March 2015 February 2015
January 2015 December 2014 November 2014
October 2014 September 2014 August 2014
July 2014 June 2014 May 2014
April 2014 March 2014 February 2014
January 2014 December 2013 November 2013
October 2013 September 2013 August 2013
July 2013 June 2013 May 2013
April 2013 March 2013 February 2013
January 2013 December 2012 November 2012
October 2012 September 2012 August 2012
July 2012 June 2012 May 2012
April 2012 March 2012 February 2012
January 2012 December 2011 November 2011
October 2011 September 2011 August 2011
July 2011 June 2011 May 2011
April 2011 March 2011 February 2011
January 2011 December 2010 November 2010
October 2010 September 2010 August 2010
July 2010 June 2010 May 2010
April 2010 March 2010 February 2010
January 2010 December 2009 November 2009
October 2009 September 2009 August 2009
July 2009 June 2009 May 2009
April 2009 March 2009 February 2009
January 2009 December 2008 October 2008
August 2008 July 2008 June 2008
May 2008 April 2008 March 2008
February 2008 January 2008 December 2007
November 2007 October 2007 August 2007
July 2007 June 2007 May 2007
April 2007 March 2007 February 2007
January 2007 December 2006 November 2006
October 2006 August 2006 July 2006
June 2006 May 2006 April 2006
March 2006 February 2006 January 2006
December 2005 November 2005 October 2005
September 2005 August 2005 July 2005
June 2005 May 2005 March 2005
February 2005 January 2005