It’s the summer of 1978. My family has taken us upriver to Baskin’s beach for a weekend at a relative’s cottage. I was seemingly the only boy in the kids’ group and I’d exhausted all water sports that I knew or was capable of. My sand laden toes gripped the worn floor as I strode past my aunts and uncles playing likely their hundredth game of euchre, when I glimpsed at the Canadian athletes competing in that summer’s Commonwealth Games. I watched memorable performances from pentathlete Diane Jones-Konihowski and diver Janet Nutter but nothing would prepare me for the display of cyclist Jocelyn Lovell.

The cottage had a small colour tv, unlike the multiple shades of grey at home. I watched Lovell seemingly burst from the track peloton as from a cannon and win the gold medal in the 10 mile scratch race with ease and unknowingly inspire this nine year old to take up cycling as his new passion. His simplistic yet distinctive light blue jersey with bright red maple leaf on the back crossing the line in victory was an image that would be ingrained with me forever.

A year or two later my father took me to a criterium race. We heard Jocelyn would be racing. We finally see him as the nervous riders toed the start line unclipped. There was the legend Jocelyn Lovell, pedaling circles 20 meters behind the bunch with not a care in the world. I was struck by his calm, almost carefree demeanour as the gun went off.

Thank you Jocelyn. Thanks to you I wanted to be a cyclist. Thanks to you I wanted to represent my country and wear that maple leaf on my back. Thanks to you I saw that I could compete and not be a nervous wreck before the start. Thanks to you that cyclist became my hero. RIP.

This is a special post from Team DS Gord Fraser about a true Canadian cycling hero

Gord Fraser

Written by Gord Fraser

Gord is a three-time Olympian with over 200 career wins. He retired from professional cycling at the end of 2006. He has been a Sports Director ever since, joining the team in 2014. He was inducted into the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame in 2016. Gord and Floyd were teammates from 1999-2001.

3 comments

  1. I remember Lovell riding into the stadium closing ceremonies in Edinburgh at the end of the 1970 Commonwealth Games on a little TRICYCLE and waving at the queen.
    He’d won Gold, Silver, and Bronze at those games.
    This 17 year old felt Canadian pride in his humour as well as his performance.

  2. Yo, Flash! I owe a life style threatening uber-serious knee blow out at the ago of 20, when all I cared about was all things alpine particularly skiing, and one Dr. Richard Cunningham, who emphasized that recovery and the potential to be able MAYBE run again, MAYBE ski again, was on me. He also told me to get a bike. His first suggestion was to a basic tour, my reaction was “You mean, like those hippies?”, so the next day he brought a copy of Winning magazine that had Lemond on the cover. I had no idea really of bicycle road racing, and while I had been a fairly dedicated BMXer at a fairly wee age, I had not been on two wheels in over 5 or so years when I got my self a Fuji low level road bike, and less then 10 weeks after surgery (a full knee reconstruction), I did my first races at the citizen level. Not that my stuff on bikes in any way reflects your own, it is cool to hear how persons not based in- say- Italy or Netherlands first caught a whiff of the baddest sport in the land. Thanks, Gord, for another great article. Looking forward to seeing your boys this season 2017.

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