Lifetime Ottawa Sports Awards winners named

Kathleen Murphy (left) with daughter Mary & son Brennan Villemaire. Photo: Dan Plouffe.

By Charlie Pinkerton

Just because they’re given an award – or another award, in the case of many of this year’s Ottawa Sports Awards lifetime award recipients – doesn’t mean everything is all of a sudden going to be about them. A lifetime of dedication to sport instills certain selflessness, morals and principles, at least two of this year’s headlining winners agree, and it’s just that that they’ve spent so much time trying to pass along to others.

Looking back through her career, this year’s Mayor’s Cup winner Kathleen Murphy didn’t say it was founding the Ottawa National Diving Club (ONDC) or even her appearance at the 1976 Olympic Games at age 16 as moments that keep her motivated, but instead that it’s her children’s willingness to take up her cause that most inspires her.

“It’s a succession that I get to see every day. They’ve taken my principles and my morals and my ethics and its going to continue,” she said.

Her son and daughter, Brennan and Mary Villemaire, were national level athletes in their own right and now both work beside her at the ONDC.

A personal achievement that she does say evokes pride was being recognized with an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for her 25 years of service to Gymnastics Ontario.

“That was unbeknownst to me also (like the Mayor’s Cup),” Murphy added. “It was a complete surprise to me, but it was something I treasure.”

About her latest prize, she said she’s “humbled” to be mentioned in the same breath as recipients of the past, such as last year’s winner Bob Wilson, who spent 60 years involved with the sport of baseball in Ottawa and was a well-known champion for the community of Nepean.

“I consider myself among the elite. I know how much Bob volunteered his time and what he did for sport, so if I’m put into that class of people I’m honoured,” Murphy said.

Mike Rivet

Mike Rivet. Photo: Dan Plouffe.

As for Mike Rivet, this year’s recipient of the Brian Kilrea Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in coaching, he said what sticks with him most is the ability to have an impact on young people’s lives.

“Not every kid is going to be great, what’s more fun is making sure they have a good time and they get skills – life skills, not just skating – out of it too. That’s the best part,” said the coach who is known for his ability to develop greatness.

Rivet developed the Gloucester Concorde-trio of Ottawa Olympians, Ivanie Blondin, Vincent De Haître and Isabelle Weidemann, but his world champion level pupils also include Kevin Frost, who Rivet coached to both long and short track Impaired Skating World Championship titles. Rivet’s also collected honours such as the Ontario Speed Skating Coach of the Year and Speed Skating Canada’s Coaches Award of Excellence during his more than 30 years of coaching speedskating.

Two more lifetime achievement awards will be given to lifelong servants of sport at the Sports Awards’ banquet at Algonquin College on Jan. 30.

Nadine Crowley, a former international level basketball official and member of Canada Basketball’s Board of Directors, will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for officiating. Peter Lawrence will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as an administrator that includes propelling the Ottawa Titans to becoming the largest Canadian water polo club.

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