On March 26, 2018, the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition announced its four 2017 inductees. Sharon Gardner, John Lotus, John MacDonald and the late Richard Wood have all been named to the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition for 2017. These outstanding athletes and builders are being recognized for their contribution to the rich sports history of Norfolk County.
Sharon Gardner has made significant contributions to figure skating as an athlete and coach. She joined the Port Dover Figure Skating Club in 1955 when the club opened. Most notably, she was a junior and senior’s pairs and solo champion and skated professionally as a member of the Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies of San Francisco. She has served as a CanSkate coach, executive member and taught skating with Brantford Parks & Recreation for the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind.
Since falling in love with the sport in high school, John Lotus has been a local curling ambassador for over 45 years. He curled competitively for many years, travelling to many bonspiels and bringing home championships. John has been a member of two provincial winning teams as a player and started coaching the vision impaired team from the Simcoe Curling Club and helped them realize three national championships. He also coached one of his athletes to win three provincial awards in the sport of golf.
John MacDonald is a retired professional football player from Simcoe. His career started at Simcoe Composite School, took him to McGill University and to pro ball with the Hamilton Tiger Cats who selected him in the first round of the 2002 CFL draft.
John continues to coach and mentor players and has developed many players at SCS, WDDS, McKinnon Park Secondary, Youth Football Camps, University of Guelph, McGill University and currently at Pauline Johnson Collegiate Vocational School. He has won numerous awards for his talent as a player and has contributed to the sport through his work with the SOAR program which is a unique program designed to support the pathway of aspiring elite athletes.
The late Richard Wood will be recognized for his accomplishments as an athlete in the sport of open water distance swimming as a marathon swimming champion. In 1989 he completed a solo swim across Lake Ontario. In 1990 he became the first Canadian male to ever complete a double crossing of Lake Erie. Richard also contributed to the sport as a meet organizer, manager and fundraiser. Most notably, he was part of a large relay team that swam across Lake Ontario to raise funds for Variety Village. Professionally he was employed at the George Hull Centre for Children and Families in Etobicoke, as a youth counsellor. He was inducted into the Solo Swims of Ontario Hall of Fame, served on the executive. Richard passed away in 1998 at the age of 39 but left a permanent impression on the sport.
For these and many more achievements, these outstanding athletes and builders along with the 2018 inductees will be inducted into the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition at a gala celebration in July of 2019.