Paralympic Gold Medalist Jason Delasalle inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

The long awaited Grand Opening of the Tumbler Ridge Sports Hall of Fame was held on January 27th at the Community Centre.

Mayor Mike Caisley was present to induct Jason Delasalle into the Hall of Fame. Councillors Rose Colledge and Larry White were present as well.

Dr. Charles Helm, who hosted the event, gave a short speech about the Sports Hall, located between the pool and the hockey arena.

There are currently three inductees on the wall, Delasalle, Al Tattersall, and Kris Swanson. A photo collage and description of each athlete?s achievements are mounted as a permanent display.

Delasalle gave a motivational speech at the Tumbler Ridge Public prior to his induction. He started by thanking Dr. Charles Helm for his hard work in getting pictures placed throughout the Community Centre for the dinosaur finds as well as the new Sports Hall of Fame. Delasalle chronologically gave a brief history of his athletic achievements which started in Tumbler Ridge by participating in tournaments. Delasalle believes that his teachers here taught him ethics of sports in the community. He said that it ?takes a community to make an athlete?. He contributed his achievements from the support of family, friends, physiotherapists, trainers, coaches, and teachers.

Delasalle also acknowledged corporate sponsors for their athletic programs which helped him advance in training.

Delasalle first participated in Trail, British Columbia in his first track meet where he qualified for the nationals. After acing the nationals, Delasalle went international in France in 1990. Since Delasalle was still young, he competed in the World Youth Games. He did well in France. Not long after, Delasalle was introduced to Don Steen, who became his coach.

Steen asked Delasalle if he would participate in a Pentathlon which included Long Jump, Javelin, 100 meter and 15 meter races, and Shot-put. Delasalle agreed and in 1992, he and his family moved to Burnaby, British Columbia on New Year?s Day. In the same year, Delasalle competed in Barcelona, Spain. It was there that he got a taste of ?athletic achievement?. Delasalle said that there is an incredible sense of pride when the crowds of people start to cheer.

In 1996, Delasalle won the gold medal at the games in Atlanta, Georgia. He was surprised to learn that he beat the USA athlete by only ten points. Delasalle said that this achievement was the crown jewel of his career.

Delasalle was first injured at the games in Italy in 1997. In 1998, he went on to win a silver medal. Then in 2000, he was injured again in the Pentathlon which was the opening event. After therapy, Delasalle attempted Open Discus but his injuries held him back. Although he was unable to participate in other events, Delasalle still felt the ?Olympic? feeling during the Open Discus competition.

Delasalle told the youth of the community to ?learn from your defeats so you can rise again?. He said that the gravy is the medals earned. However, he said that the best part is the feeling one gets when they compete which is the ?Olympic feeling? he referred to earlier in his speech.

Delasalle finished by commenting that the proposed track in Tumbler Ridge will be the first track that he knows of north of Prince George. Delasalle said that Tumbler Ridge will be the host for track meets for northern BC. He also commented that it will be wonderful for young athletes in the community to have their support system of family and friends close by.