Known for his ability to unexpectedly sneak up on opponents and powerfully peddle past streaking to victory, cyclist Brian Walton has also managed to elude the popular attentions of the Canadian and British Columbian public. Just don’t blame Walton’s anonymity on his performance—this man’s impressive accomplishments speak for themself.

Beginning at the Tour de White Rock, the hometown race for this Delta boy, in eighteen years Walton was named race champion a record six times. At age 19, he won the BC Summer Games and within years began looking abroad as part of a legendary generation of cyclists that became the first North American pro team to race the Tour de France. With Team Motorola in 1992, he became teammates with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Often Walton’s best work was wrongly overshadowed. Finishing a solid 13th in the individual time trial road race at the Seoul Olympics, one Mr. Ben Johnson grabbed all the headlines. At the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina, Walton pulled off the rare double feat of winning both the points and road race within 48 hours and added a bronze in the pursuit. Another doping controversy stole the spotlight from Walton once again.

Along the way, Walton was a member of the national team for 14 years, representing Canada at three Olympics. At the 1994 Commonwealth Games, Walton grabbed a bronze medal in the men’s scratch race, while claiming the road race gold at the 1999 Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg. He raced professionally from 1989-2000 on some of the strongest and most prominent North American cycling teams finishing in the top five at the US Pro Championships on three occasions. He is famed for defeating the legendary Miguel Indurain in a 1991 time trial at the Tour of Pays Basque.

The highlight of Walton’s career remains capturing the silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in the men’s points race, a gruelling 100-lap battle around the velodrome. The result is all the more impressive considering it occurred just two months after serious arthoscopic knee surgery. Canadian uber-athlete Clara Hughes, winner of Olympic medals in both cycling and speed skating, called Walton’s performance “remarkable,” achieving the “impossible.” Fellow Canadian cyclist Curt Harnett, himself a bronze medallist on the same day as Walton, claimed Walton’s medal achievement was one of the greatest cycling performances he’d ever seen.

After retiring from competition in 2000, the ten-time Canadian national road and track champion began coaching with Team Snow Valley, which developed into the top-ranked amateur team in the US. For his efforts, he was nominated as USA Cycling’s 2003 Developmental Coach of the Year. He is currently Director of Performance at the Cadence Performance Cycling Center in Pennsylvannia. Walton remains a proud promoter and supporter of cycling in BC and a great ambassador for the sport internationally.

Generally regarded as BC’s most successful road cyclist ever, Walton remains a relative unknown outside the cycling community. Except for brief periods during Olympic years, you would have had more success playing “Where’s Waldo?” than “Where’s Walton?” It’s inexplicable really. Walton’s story has it all—brushes with greatness, adversity, scintillating success, and, after all, everyone likes a winner. With induction in the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, Walton’s amazing athletic story will be remembered and celebrated by future generations.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.