When Diane Clement ran for the Moncton Olympic Club in New Brunswick, she trained on a cinder track down by the river and says she became a fast sprinter because of all the mosquitoes. Diane also had dreams of becoming a figure skater and while that may have taken care of the mosquito problem, fleeing them were the first strides toward a remarkable career that took Clement to eight Olympic Games in various roles including Canadian team manager and media liaison, as well as a playing a part in transforming the face of BC and Canadian sport.

By the time Clement was selected to run for Canada at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, she had unofficially broken the 220 yards world record and held two Canadian sprint records. In Melbourne, she ran the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, but, more significantly, she and a handsome middle distance runner named Doug Clement were randomly drawn two tickets to attend the opening night of the musical Kismet. Well, it proved just that. The Hall of Fame couple would be married within three years and have rarely been apart in the sixty years since.

Leading up to the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Diane moved to Vancouver where she trained at UBC. At the Games, she helped Canadas 4x110yd relay team to a bronze medal. A year later, she became the first woman to coach the UBC womens track and field team. Not long after the newly-married Clements moved to Richmond, the municipality offered to build them a running track if they started a track club. The Richmond Kajaks were the result, today one of the strongest track clubs in Canada, counting dozens of Canadian Olympians among its alumni. That running track was named in the Clements honour in 2011.

From 1973-76, Diane served as the first female president of Athletics Canada, likely also the first woman president of any sports federation in Canada, if not North America. Along the way, she became known as the ‘Chef on the Run’, publishing eight best-selling cookbooks that promoted healthy eating and living. She was a co-founder of the Vancouver Sun Run in 1985, today one of the world’s largest timed 10km races attracting 45,000 participants annually. Shes also one of the key contributors to the Achilles International Track and Field Society that organizes the annual Harry Jerome International Track Classic, one of North America’s biggest track meets.

Along with Doug, Diane served as co-mayor of the Athletes Villages of two different major games: the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. She also served on the boards of several important provincial sports organizations including the BC Sports Hall of Fame, Sport BC, and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid Committee.

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