Thinking about our Canadian friend, Cecil Smith


Cecil Smith died on December 2. I was in the middle of two weeks of December travel to trade shows, cross country events and end of year meetings. I took a short walk to consider my dear friend, who had provided this writer, new to covering global athletics kind suggestions and a strong accent. I can hear his laugh and see his smile. Still now, as then, there was a bit of mischief in the laugh and smile, as I would recollect.

ed670977-d1a0-4916-b510-f59c919bfd70.pngCecil Smith, courtesy of Cecil Smith/IAAF

I wanted to say something about Cecil Smith, who was publisher of Athletics Canada magazine with John Craig as his editor. Cecil Smith made Athletics Canada a magazine that was read and honored for the respect it provided for the sport. Cecil had a great presense and a robust voice. You could hear his Welsh origins in every breath, and he did not suffer fools, or anyone who took away from his beloved sport.

Cecil Smith was proud of Canadian athletics. If one read Athletics Canada, one would learn about the current and former greats of the sport from our northern neighbor.

He was at his best in his Sports short news pieces in Athletics Canada, where he could poke a bit of fun at some of the large egoes in our sport. He also noted moments that took away from the importance of our sport. He was a particular foe of doping in sport.

Cecil Smith had battled Parkinson's disease for some time. I recall last seeing him in Edmonton in 2001. I would hear a quick story on Cecil from mutual friends. We loved Cecil. He was a good man, and he fought the good fight in athletics media.

I miss my friend from Canada.

Statement from IAAF on death of Cecil Smith, courtesy of

The IAAF is deeply saddened to hear that Cecil Smith, a leading figure in Canadian athletics, died on 2 December after suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Born in Wales in 1936, Smith moved to Canada in the 1970s and soon became involved in the administrative side of the sport. He founded the Pan-American Junior Championships and was the vice president and meeting director for the 1988 IAAF World Junior Championships in Sudbury.

He was also a member of IAAF Technical Committee, the chair of the IAAF Decathlon (Women) Working Group and a member of the IAAF sub-committee on hurdle heights for women. A keen statistician, he founded Canada's national track and field magazine, 'Athletics'.

During his career, Smith was honoured with the 125-Year Anniversary Medal of Canada's Confederation, and the Queen's Jubilee Medal.

The IAAF sends its condolences to his family.


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