Skip to main content

Doug and Diane Clement at their home in Vancouver on Sept. 9.Jimmy Jeong/The Globe and Mail

The organizers: Friends of Doug and Diane Clement

The pitch: Raising $250,000 and climbing

The reason: To fund scholarships for student athletes

Dr. Doug and Diane Clement have been involved in Canadian athletics for more than 60 years as competitors, coaches, mentors and innovators.

They met while competing at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, and went on to launch the Achilles International Track and Field Society in Vancouver. The society brought elite competition to Canada through the Harry Jerome International Track Classic and the Clements launched the Vancouver Sun Run, one of Canada’s largest 10-kilometre road races. The couple also co-founded the Kajaks Track & Field Club, which developed a host of Olympic athletes, and they coached numerous national teams.

Ms. Clement was also the first female president of Athletics Canada and Dr. Clement has been a global pioneer in sports medicine.

A year ago, the couple, who are both in their 80s, announced plans to step back from the society. To honour their service, a group of friends began raising money to fund scholarships in their names. The group collected $250,000 and announced the Doug and Diane Clement Scholarship Fund last spring to support student athletes at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

“There are no words for their commitment to our sport, all that they have created and the lives they have touched,” said Lynn Kanuka, an Olympic medalist and coach.

Ken Poskitt, who was coached and mentored by Dr. Clement, said the first scholarships will likely be awarded next year and the fundraising will continue for further awards. “It’s been remarkable,” Dr. Poskitt said of contributions so far. “People are so thankful for all that Doug and Diane have done that they are usually clamouring to contribute.”

The Clements didn’t know about the fund until it was announced in June, just before the Harry Jerome meet.

“We’re very pleased and honoured,” Dr. Clement said. “We like to think that we’ve never worked a day in our lives. We just enjoy everything that we have done and we see no reason why we won’t continue to do that as long as we can. Life is a journey and we have been very very lucky.”