Alberta stands as one of the countries in the world that honours so many great athletes from a diverse range of sports. In the sporting arena, you will find modern heroes who have risen beyond human limitations to become inspirational figures to millions of people across the world. These sports personalities have influenced lives in ways that no political and business leaders would fathom. The Province of Alberta has self-made its sports athletes, whose recognition goes beyond Alberta’s Sports Hall of Fame. Below are some of the greatest names in Alberta’s sports history of athletes who have influenced lives throughout the Province and the world at large.

Diedra Dionne                                                   

Dionne goes in as one of the most inspirational athletes in Alberta history, following her courage and leadership during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. The freestyle skier 2002 Olympics bronze medallist and two-time world Championship gold medallist remains a true inspiration to the national team in winter sports. In 200, Dionne broke her neck in a training accident in Mount Buller Australia, which pushed her out for two years following major surgery to fuse her two vertebrates. With amazing resilience and determination, Dionne worked her way through to the Canadian Olympic team in 20016.

Born and raised in Red Deer, Dionne was a strong member of the freestyle aerials from 1999 to 2009. In 2009, she announced her retirement from active sports after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her input as part of Canada’s’ Athletes’ Council helped in shaping the national team in their participation in the Olympics and Pan America Games.

Jim Donlevy

As a renowned football coach, Jim Donlevy was a national champ and an inspirational figure in Alberta’s sports history. Jim is celebrated as a great coach, mentor, and strong education advocate who inspired thousands of athletes in Alberta.  He is widely celebrated as the coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears Team that has scooped several national college football championships.

Besides football, Jim made a great impact in hockey, where he was instrumental in the formation of a post-secondary scholarship program in Junior Hockey. In 1993, Jim joined the Western Hockey Leagues and an education consultant for the scholarship program for players. The program is considered one of the most comprehensive in the hockey world. For the 22 years he worked with the program, Jim ensured that not only do players compete at the highest levels of hockey, but also accomplished their academic goals.

Derek Douglas

In 1986 Derek Douglas became the first soccer referee from Alberta to attain the level of a FIFA International Referee. Douglas, who was born in Scotland, migrated to Canada in 1957 and commenced his career as a soccer referee in 1974. His contributions under his new position as a FIFA referee include arbitrating five FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in the US, Mexico, Trinidad, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Although Derek retired from active refereeing in 2000, he remains an inspirational figure encouraging officials to achieve the highest standards of suitability and excellence through instruction and upgrading referees across Alberta province. He has earned several awards for his contribution to growing soccer in Alberta to FIFA standards. Furthermore, he officiated NASL games and international Olympic fixtures, including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Through his experience, Derek continues to develop women’s soccer, both locally and internationally. 

The list of influential sports figures in Alberta is endless: for more inspirational athletes, check out this article by Lotto land. Learn how these sports personalities are changing lives for millions across the globe. As Alberta Sports Hall of Fame continues to honour the Province’s athletes, the diversity of exceptional individuals is phenomenal and one that can be adopted by other countries as a way of celebrating diversity in sports.

Alberta’s Most Inspirational Athletes

Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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