From athlete to coach to volunteer to official— Glenn Ford has done it all at the B.C. Games and 40 years later he continues to leave a legacy of giving back to the sport of judo.
It was at the inaugural B.C. Winter Games in 1979 in Kamloops that Ford participated in the team judo event, winning a silver medal. As the Games return to Kamloops to celebrate their 40th anniversary, so does Ford — this time as an official.
“He is a great representative in the sport of judo, in that judo is more than just a sport — it really is a way of life,” said Thompson, executive director of Judo B.C.
Thompson said Ford is a valuable contributor to the sport in B.C. Having been involved in many B.C. Winter Games, officiating at all levels and coaching — including the past 28 years at a club in Langley.
“Again, a great representation of what judo is as a sport. It is very much about creating great individuals on the mats but also off the mats. A big part of judo is giving back so that is something that is in our sport and he is just a fabulous example of that.”
Ford said the B.C. Games has been an integral part of his life.
“It was a mini-Olympics then too. It was great because after that I was injured about three years later and wasn’t able to fight too much more so I started coaching at the B.C. Games,” said Ford. “It was great and really good to see how things have changed for the better.
The sport of judo continues to evolve
Thompson, who is the executive director of Judo B.C., said they made huge gains in the past year and half after hiring sport development director and provincial coach Jeremy LeBris.
“He is here and he is watching every single match to see how the kids are doing but he is also involved in our coach mentorship program, the school program to help create more awareness for our sport and get more kids involved in it. We already have more kids at this event, the age grouping ties in better with the Canada Winter Games and a lot of that is from him.”
LeBris, originally from France before moving to Quebec to work with the national team, is already helping Judo B.C. win more medals at national competitions, getting more athletes participating at youth provincial championships and more athletes at the B.C. Games.
Thompson has a clear vision for the future, which includes more B.C. athletes developing into Olympians.
“Absolutely that is the goal. And we hope that they have been her at these Games and that they will be on the Olympic podium in eight years, maybe 12.”