Gord Sleivert’s wife spoke with a tremble in her voice when she told the crowd her husband brought as much energy, support and perseverance to their family as he did to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE).
“All the wonderful things everyone has said about Gord today, he was that person for our family, too, the one who encouraged all of us to keep going,” Kari said. “He’s right there, on our shoulders now, pushing us on.”
Camosun College, PISE and the Canadian Sport Institute announced three legacy initiatives to honour Sleivert, former vice-president of the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific, who died suddenly on April 2, 2012.
In a celebratory memorial held at the Interurban centre on June 6, representatives from the organizations unveiled that PISE is officially opening and dedicating its new track and training zone to Sleivert – a zone that covers the 9,000-square-foot former concrete patio on the south end of the building, now outfitted with a rubber-based sport training surface bordered by two spring tracks and lights for year-round use by athletes, students and the community.
The training zone was a long-standing dream for Sleivert, who was described as a visionary for the centre.
In addition, the Canadian Sport Institute lab, within the PISE building, will be renamed the Dr. Gord Sleivert Sport Performance Lab to commemorate Sleivert’s dedication to sport science and the creation of a “better-than-world-class” daily training environment.
Finally, Camosun College has created The Gord Sleivert Award: Commitment and Perseverance, aimed to help hardworking students who demonstrate Sleivert’s traits: commitment, perseverance and a passion for the community.
“For me, family was always a part of the process, and Gord would take the time to check in and not just find out if I was OK, but find out how my family was doing. That was huge,” said Olympic rowing silver medalist Dave Calder, who spoke at the memorial.
Calder said Sleivert’s influence on his training first started in 2003, with the implementation of “elaborate” ice training vests.
In 2008 and 2012, Sleivert facilitated heat-acclimatization training tents for Calder and the team to adjust to the hot weather of Beijing, then altitude training. Others remembered Sleivert as a man who asked “what if,” even to the detriment of his supervisors.
“He always knew exactly what to say, and when to say it,” said Trent Stellingwerff, innovation and research lead for the Canadian Sport Institute, who will take on some of Sleivert’s projects.
“Nothing is as fragile as an athlete’s psyche, and Gord really got that. There was never any ‘I can’t’ only ‘I can’ and there was no ‘I don’t know’ only ‘Give me two days and we’ll figure it out.’ His will be big shoes to fill.”