Carol Anne (Wood) Letheren

Carol Anne Letheren

Portrait by Robert Howson

A graduate of Guelph Collegiate, Carol Anne Letheren was thrust into the spotlight as a key player in the greatest drug scandal in Olympic history. As chef de mission for Canada at the Seoul Olympics, it was her job to ask Ben Johnson to return his gold medal after he had tested positive for steroids.

Letheren would go on to become the long-time Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Association (COA) and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). On February 2, 2001 she suffered a massive brain aneurysm and passed away.

She committed most of her life to competition. She played many sports while at GCVI, went on to become a provincial badminton champion at the University of Toronto and was later a judge for gymnastics at both the 1976 and 1984 Olympic games and five world championships.

As CEO of the Canadian Olympic Association she was a pioneer in boosting the role and level of participation of women in sport not only as athletes, but also as coaches and administrators. Another great achievement was her insistence that athletes have more input into the COA. An athlete fund was established for financial assistance in training, an athlete council was formed and athlete members sat on the executive committee.

Canadian IOC representative Dick Pound said “She was outgoing and gregarious, but she also had a very clear view about what was right with the Olympic movement and was very stubborn about making sure the right things happened.”

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Builder category – on May 7, 2003