Gary Reed has a history of making history. That could bode well for the 26-year-old runner from Kamloops going into the 2008 Olympic Games this summer in Beijing.
He was the first Canadian to win a medal at the World Championships with his silver medal performance in Osaka, Japan in 2007. This was no one-time performance, either, as Reed won both his heat and semi-final to qualify for the final at Osaka. His medal at the Worlds was the culmination of a season in which he won his fourth Canadian Championship in the 800-metre distance and took gold in three other races. When you add a silver medal in Belgium and a bronze medal in Greece to his resumé, 2007 was definitely one to remember. At season’s end, Reed was honoured with the Cal D. Bricker Memorial Trophy recognizing single outstanding performance of the year, for his performance at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.
More recent history shows Reed hanging with the fastest men in the world in this Olympic year. He finished fifth and third, respectively, in the 800-metre races in Eugene, Ore., and New York. But he has also slowed down long enough to help inspire the next generation of Canadian Olympians. He visited dozens of elementary schools in Victoria, lending some of his considerable running expertise and a little inspiration to some young runners on Vancouver Island. One look at his silver medal performance from the 2007 Worlds and the accompanying silver medal went a long way towards impressing his young audience.
Reed learned the value of perseverance at a young age as he and his sister moved often with their mother in search of a better life. His mother was his role model and is someone he often credits for his inspiration – an example of hard work and sacrifice. In turn, Reed now passes his experience to young children.
After a convincing 800-metre win in his own backyard at the Victoria Track Classic last month, Reed is primed to join Alex Wilson (silver, 1932), Phil Edwards (bronze in 1932 and 1936) and Bill Crothers (1964) as Canadian Olympic medallists in the 800-metre.