4Brant.com welcomes and introduces our newest Photographer/Events Reporter:
Kara brings years of photographic expertise which includes: Sports Team pictures; Individual Sports Portraits; Events; and ‘Santa Experience’ photo shoots. Her contact info is posted below, and we encourage you to consider her the next time you are looking for creativity and passion in capturing your special moments.
Publisher, John Bradford
Over the past 15 years, the Brantford Sports Council has hosted an awards banquet to celebrate our youth champions, volunteerism in sports coaching and refereeing and recognize those industries that contribute to the Brant not-for-profit sports community. This event identifies the winners and runners-up each year and also brings two special individuals: the Keynote Speaker as a motivational mentor; the Annual Sports Person-Of-The-Year as local inspiration for lifelong commitment to sports.
The group photo at the top of the story represent the 2020 winners as shown left to right:
This year highlights 29 individuals or groups nominated, and 10 trophies presented.
The winner of Sports Person Of-The-Year was Jacqueline Legere, 29 years of age, born in Brantford and growing up in St. George. She was involved in many youth sports locally, especially hockey. Over the years she expanded to skiing, motocross, wake boarding, long boarding, skydiving, rollerblading, ice cross down hill which seemed appropriate leading to her chosen career as a stunt woman for TV shows like Orphan Black, The Strain and the feature film industry in Suicide Squad, Molly’s Game and IT, Chapter 2.
She became enamoured with the Reality TV competition, Red Bull Crashed Ice and started her training, racing for the first time in 2011 in Quebec City. By 2016, she became the first woman to win the Woman’s World Champion back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. As the competition became more aggressive, she was 2nd overall in the world in 2018 and 2019.
She wants her title back in 2020!
Jacqueline Legere has gained deserved fame in the film industry and the Red Bull competition but attributes her dedication and enthusiasm to her contribution and competitiveness as a young woman involved in sports locally. Truly an inspiration.
As a community we are proud to share her successes and hope for more on her behalf.
This year’s Key Note Speaker, Rick Mannen is no stranger to the sports world in Brant/Brantford.
He is one of the founders and recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame recognition at the Gretzky Centre. In addition, he served on the Brantford Sports Council recognizing youth development. He was introduced to his track and field sports career 50 years ago, in cross country in Brant and it was less than inspirational, didn’t finish and was desperately ill. High school track and field turned out to be more successful. He married his high school sweetheart, Josie and immediately added 20 pounds with her incredible Italian cooking. So, he began running again, to lose the weight. That got him into marathons and qualified for his first race, the 1986 Skylon International Marathon in Niagara Falls. Again, his body seized after the 42.6 Kilometres, but he finished with his best time and qualified for the Boston Marathon. Mannen completed as an international-class marathon runner, winning seven international marathons, including Hong Kong, Toronto, and Buffalo.
“For that 10 years, I ran thousands of miles, competed in hundreds of races, became one of the best marathoners in Canada, travelled the world for marathon races and competed internationally for the Canadian team (ed. Note: Mannen also represented Canada at the World Cup Marathon in Seoul, South Korea and the Pan Pacific Marathon Championships in Long Beach, California.). I have made lasting memories of victories and defeats and sights of places we would never had gone to. Memories can help us go on when we lose a loved one and help us learn new tasks to make us better at work.”
In 2010, his whole world seemed to screech to a halt. He was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour.
“I relied on my faith, the surgeons and, with the support of family and friends, agreed to surgery, pre-op signed forms agreeing to accept risk of paralysis, blindness, deafness and possible death.”
“I felt sorry for myself, for a second, and then relied on my past running success for inspiration, motivation and confidence and knew I would get through it.”
Mannen started ‘shuffle walking’ over a kilometre, with his surgeon’s permission, the first day after surgery. Two months after surgery he ran a 10k race without any issues and now 8 years later, after having two heart ablations to repair some heart irregularities and knee surgery last April resulting from a fall, He is now running ultra-trail marathons (distances longer than 42.2k). He went on to create a business of athlete coaching, ‘Running With Rick” and helps others to overcome their personal adversity and become disciplined in their growth and health. Krista DuChene also from this area, set her training goal with Rick, as her inspiration and coach, to qualify for the Olympics in the marathon. She particularly was tested when she fell in an Olympic marathon qualifier event in Rotterdam and despite breaking her leg near the Finish Line, completed the event. Another runner he mentored, Kip Kangogo, from Kenya, had his own personal goals.
“Krista’s dream came true and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to coach her to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, an experience I will never forget. And Kip Kangogo’s dreams came true, he became a Canadian citizen and his performances improved enough to be selected to the Canadian National Team at the Pan American Games. Athletes: listen, learn and get inspired by your coaches. Coaches: listen, learn and get inspired by the athletes you coach.”
Mannen now enjoys running more than ever… with a different attitude.
“Appreciate every day and every experience; No pressure… Run for personal enjoyment, health and fitness; Open the door to use your experience gained by coaching many others from the true beginner level to the elite level; Learn what you can from your sport, your coaches, managers, trainers, doctors, sponsors, family, friends and volunteers, your IST “Integrated Support Team” thank them and show them your appreciation for helping you learn more than how to run, how to throw and how to score a goal; Athletes, listen, learn and get inspired by your coaches; Coaches, listen, learn and get inspired by the athletes you coach. At some point in your future, you will draw on these life lessons to help you deal with and get through your own adversity.
Thank you, Rick Mannen, for your spirit, your inspiration, and your caring.
Thank you to the Brantford Sports Council for supporting, as volunteers, our sports athletes, coaches and sponsors, and advocating in the community on behalf of our youth and their families.
Kara Wilson of Wilson Photography
“I have never been to Paris during Fashion Week, let alone Paris France at any time. Nor have I climbed Mount Everest. I haven’t been to the Sierra Desert, but I have travelled to far away places, created a lot of images for myself and others. And I have made it my life’s goal to be as creative and inspiring as possible towards everything I endeavor. On a deserted island, I’d go insane without photography, Netflix, music and my husband, Chris, and our family including our pets. Storytelling, creative innovation and visual voodoo are my jam and makes my heart go “boom boom”; and sharing all this online with the world, plus as much of my professional experience I can muster makes my soul sing. I’m fond of flamingos and Llamas and could watch them all day. I can find humor in anything. I have been nominated and won awards for my work and I am grateful. My true reward is through teamwork, community and collaboration.
Let’s be friends. Better yet, let’s trek the Sierra Desert!”
Insta: @karawilsonphotography & @wilsonsportsphotography