When Kelly Mann was in Grade 10 at Victoria’s Lansdowne Junior High School a young practicum teacher named Roger Skillings wrote in his yearbook: “Sport or politics? All the best, Roger Skillings.”
Fast forward twenty years and Kelly was hired as a BC Games Society event manager by Skillings, then the organization’s CEO. Then in 1999, Kelly became his successor for the next 19 years.
After working with both sport and political leaders as the driving force elevating the BC Games into perhaps the most pivotal multi-sport athlete development event in the BC sport system and a model for other provinces, the answer to that looming yearbook question proved serendipitously to be not one or the other, but both.
Born in Ladysmith, Kelly grew up playing baseball in Victoria. By junior high, he was managing school sports teams. Beginning in 1992, Kelly worked as the BC Games Society’s event manager responsible for accommodation, medical, food services, and communications.
This proved invaluable as CEO of the BC Games, quietly among the largest annual multi-sport events in Canada. During Kelly’s term, the BC Games impacted over 250,000 athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers in over 90 BC communities. He worked to make the BC Games a national leader in the development of young athletes, coaches, and community sport and it’s no coincidence that BC consistently contributes more athletes to national teams per capita than any other province.
Kelly also served as founding chair of KidSport Victoria, Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games ambassador, and board member for the Victoria Harbour Cats Baseball Club, Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, the Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Council, and the Multi-Sport Organization Leadership Council.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
To read more on the career of Kelly Mann, please see the April 2022 Curator’s Corner article here: https://bcsportshall.com/curator-corner/kelly-mann-legacy-maker-2021-inductee-spotlight/