Celebrating a powerful hub for excellence in sport science and medicine

August 1st, 2019

Last month, we expressed how fortunate we were to be tasked with telling the story of sport in British Columbia and how privileged the BC Sports Hall of Fame was to have the responsibility of tracking, recognizing and celebrating sport history, heritage and culture in a province that has become a golden hotbed for sport and performance in Canada.

With BC accounting for just 13% of Canada’s population, it has refused to accept that at par. In our last outreach to you on July 1st, we cited a tradition of over-performance that was an inspiring story in and of itself:

At the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics last year, 28% of the athletes had a BC connection, and more impressively, they won 38% of Canada’s medals.  At the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics, 44% of the athletes had a BC connection, and they won 57% of the podium finishes. At the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games combined, 31% of the athletes had a BC connection and they won 47% of Canada’s medals.

At the last summer Olympic Games at Rio 2016, 45% of the athletes had a BC connection and they won 50% of Canada’s medals. At the Rio Paralympics, 27% of the athletes were BC-affiliated and they won 34% of our country’s hardware. Combined, 35% of the Olympians and Paralympians connected to BC and they won 50% of Canada’s medals at Rio 2016.
This month, the natural follow up is for us to be thankful for all of those who have helped create such terrific conditions for success on the world stage. In particular, we’re here to acknowledge the role played by the dozens of nationally and internationally recognized sport science and medicine practitioners who call BC home.
Sport physicians. Sport surgeons. Sport psychologists. Sport trainers. Sport masseurs and masseuses. Sport vision experts. Chiropractors. Physiotherapists. Podiatrists. Kinesiologists. Sleep doctors. And that’s to name only a few of the disciplines that have made their mark on sport in BC. We have more national team and Olympic team sport scientists per capita in BC than any other province in Canada and perhaps any other subnational jurisdiction in North America.

More than 50 of them are part of the team at Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. Many are resident at Fortius Sport & Health, the philanthropically-inspired sport medicine and science centre in Burnaby, B.C. And most are members of SportMedBC, the most advanced provincial organization of its kind in Canada; founded by the likes of BC Sports Hall of Fame Honoured Members Dr. Doug Clement and Dr. Jack Taunton back in 1982.

Which leads us to Alex McKechnie. Specifically, Alex McKechnie of Burnaby, B.C., Honoured Member, BC Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 2018).

As one of the most respected physiotherapists in the world, Alex exemplifies the quality of sport science and medicine practitioners that are synonymous with BC. He has worked with many of the best athletes in the world, including globally-recognized superstars in basketball and soccer. He has invented products that have made a difference around the world. He has won six NBA championship rings; not something that many in the world can equal or surpass. He co-founded Fortius. He has made BC a better place to live for those of us who love sport and champion active living. He has helped establish its world-leading reputation as one of the most beautiful sports “labs” in the world.

And just last week, he shared the most recent fruits of his success with British Columbia. Alex kicked off a two-day tour of the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy by bring the “Larry OB” to the BC Sports Hall of Fame. It was one of the most special days we’ve had at the Hall this year; a top-10 day in many respects.

It was a fun day to be part of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. It was a proud day to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hall. It was another reminder of what we at the BC Sports Hall of Fame aspire to do, day-in, day-out and year-round. And that is recognize the best in BC sport, both as they make history and as they become part of history as Honoured Members.

It’s a job made easier – and more meaningful — by the globally-recognized talent and accomplishment associated with the likes of Alex McKechnie.

Tom Mayenknecht is the Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. A principal at Emblematica Brand Builders in Vancouver and a nationally-recognized sport business commentator and host of The Sport Market on TSN Radio, he is a strong advocate for the KidSport, Right To Play and other children’s charities. He is also a member of the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame as a builder.