Award Bio – Lori Johnstone


  • 2001 Ivan Velan Award Recipient

(from Racquetball Canada Archives. Source: Canadian Racquetball, vol. 2, no. 5, by Jamie Hubbs)

Former National Team member Lori Johnstone was awarded one of the most prestigious awards at this year’s Canadian Sport Awards. The Johnny F. Bassett Memorial Award recognizes Sporting Excellence and Community Values, and Lori certainly embodies both of those criteria.

Lori was nominated for this award by Athletes Can, a volunteer organization comprised of athletes from Canada’s national teams whose mission is to work to ensure a fair, responsive, and supportive sport system for athletes. As chair of Athletes CAN (1997-1999), she insisted that accountability, equity, and inclusiveness be the hallmarks of the organization and that the views and positions of athletes be articulated to governments, sport federations, multi?sport organizations, and the public at large. Her legacy includes strong athlete participation in all decisions affecting them, increased athlete representation in decision making, increased funding of athletes, and the creation of a climate of cooperation that supports, encourages, and assists athlete participation in the boardrooms where sport is governed.

Now sport advisor to the secretary of state (amateur sport), Johnstone’s influence is evident in the many changes underway in amateur sport at the national level: development of a national dispute resolution system; additional funding for athletes, coaching, and for Olympic and Paralympic Games preparation; six regional conferences to discuss improvements to the sport system, culminating in the national conference last month; and the development of a national sport plan to create the optimum environment for Canadian athletes. Above all, she continues to play a leading role in ensuring that athletes’ voices are heard and heeded.

Lori was a member of Racquetball Canada’s Espoir Team from 1989-91, and was named to the National Team in 1991. She was national doubles champion in 1989 with Linda Ellerington, and a finalist in 1990 and 1993. Lori was a member of Team Canada in 1991, winning the Team silver medal in Colorado Springs. A highlight of Lori’s racquetball career was that she was the only woman to take Heather Stupp to tiebreaker during Heather’s reign as Canadian and World Champion. Chronic elbow injuries led to Lori’s retirement in 1996, though she returned to play the 1998 Nationals left-handed where she won Mixed doubles and came second in Women’s A singles.

Click here for an in-depth article about Johnstone’s impact on sport here in Canada and internationally.

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