by Allan Maki
Originally published: May 24, 2017
When Tricia Smith was younger and on her way to athletic glory, her mother offered some advice, “Don’t beat the boys at school. It makes them feel bad.”
Beating the boys didn’t motivate Smith. She simply wanted to be the best she could be. It turned out that attitude helped take her to a place she never imagined at a time when a meaningful number of power brokers in Canadian amateur sport are women – and there’s no reason to feel bad about it.
Through Carla Qualtrough, Anne Merklinger and Smith, women occupy three top positions of influence as Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, CEO of Own The Podium and president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, respectively. All three were athletes. Qualtrough competed as a visually impaired swimmer at two Paralympics and won three medals. Merklinger swam for the Canadian national team and curled in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Smith was an Olympic silver medalist in rowing before becoming a lawyer. All three worked their way through a male-dominated system to help shape sports and inclusiveness in this country.