When Dr. Bob McCormack was attending medical school at Queen’s University in Kingston, he developed into one of Canada’s top middle-distance runners setting two Canadian Open indoor records in the 1000m and 1500m. Bob was running so well he considered pausing his studies to take a serious shot at the 1980 Olympics. Ultimately, he forged ahead with completing his medical degree.

Yet it’s funny how things work out sometimes. Canada of course was among the western nations who boycotted the 1980 Olympics and no Canadian athlete competed. And Bob later made the Olympics anyhow as part of Canada’s medical team attending more Games than he ever would have as an athlete. By the end of 2026, Bob will have attended 13 Olympics and counting as one of the most influential individuals in Canadian sports medicine over the past 25 years.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Bob first visited BC when he arrived to interview for his orthopedic residency at UBC on one of those sunny, bluebird February days Vancouver is famous for. He decided to stay and lucky for us since 1981 New Westminster has served as home base for both his family and medical practice.

An orthopedic surgeon specializing in athletic injuries to knees or shoulders, over the next 40+ years Bob worked with dozens of organizations and teams representing thousands of athletes at the varsity, provincial, national, international, and professional levels. This impressive list included the BC Lions, Vancouver Whitecaps, SFU, Trinity Western University, NHL/NHLPA, and Canadian national teams in softball, curling, volleyball, speed skating, skiing, soccer, wrestling, figure skating, rugby, athletics, and basketball.

Bob served as the Canadian Olympic Committee’s chief medical officer at six Olympics, as well as other roles covering nearly every Winter and Summer Olympics since 2000. He has also worked as Canada’s CMO or team doctor at four Pan American Games, the 1994 Commonwealth Games, and the 1999 World University Games.

Although ‘semi-retired’ today, Bob still remains active as chief medical officer of both the CFL and Canadian Premier League, as a member of World Anti-Doping Agency Expert Advisory Groups, and as the medical lead for World Curling.

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