Monday, 18 September 2017 05:39

Swift Current powerlifter inducted into SPA Hall of Fame

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Wayne Cormier (at left) receives the SPA Hall of Fame Builder award from SPA President Ryan Fowler, Aug. 25. Wayne Cormier (at left) receives the SPA Hall of Fame Builder award from SPA President Ryan Fowler, Aug. 25. Contributed by SPA

Swift Current powerlifter Wayne Cormier’s dedication to the sport in Saskatchewan was recognized with his induction into the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association (SPA) Hall of Fame as a builder.

The induction took place at a banquet before the start of the SPA provincial championship in Regina, Aug. 25.
He has already been recognized by other powerlifting organizations for his contribution to the sport, but this induction was a special moment.
“It's an honour,” he said. “It's certainly been a journey to get to where this is at right now. The sport has really been good to me.”
In 2001 he received the International Powerlifting Federation Administrative Pin and in 2003 he was inducted into the Canadian Powerlifting Union Hall of Fame as a builder.
He received the SPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. A recipient of the SPA Hall of Fame Builder award is recognized for a commitment to the SPA for at least five years and for focusing on the growth and development of the sport of powerlifting in Saskatchewan.
Cormier has been involved with the sport for 40 years and he is still active as a coach and an athlete. He grew up in Lennoxville, Quebec, and he participated in his first contest in 1977, when he was 14 years old. He finished last, but he was not discouraged.
“It was fun,” he said. “My mother bought me my first weight set – 150 pounds in those plastic weights, filled with sand. She bought those at Sears. She bought those for me, and I had them in the basement, just like my son has his weights now in the basement and that's where I got started and that's where he got started.”
He moved to Moose Jaw at the age of 18 and he made his mark as a junior lifter by winning his first Saskatchewan provincial title in 1981.
He credits powerlifting for keeping him out of trouble and for giving him a sense of purpose. An important moment in his sporting career took place shortly after his arrival in Moose Jaw, when he met Dave Pyle, a successful coach who managed a gym in that city and who was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
“When I first moved to Moose Jaw, I could not afford a membership, and he says that doesn't matter,” Cormier recalled. “Then he took me underneath his wing. … He was my coach, but he was more than that. He was a mentor.”
He competed at six world championships, where he had three fifth place and two fourth place finishes, as well as a bronze medal at the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation championships in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998.
He won numerous trophies and medals at national and provincial competitions, he is a two-time recipient of the Saskatchewan Powerlifter of the Year award, and he holds three junior records that are now retired.
He is a strong advocate for keeping drugs out of the sport as a result of his own experiences with using steroids from 1983 to 1985. He suffered health problems and he was suspended for six months after he admitted to steroid use.
“It's not worth the risk,” he said. “People die from taking steroids, it's cheating, and it's very harmful to your body. So stay away.”
He has coached over 100 athletes and he is the current coach of the Swift Current Powerlifting Club. When he lived in Moose Jaw he started the Moose Jaw YM/YWCA Powerlifting Club and in 1990 he began the Special Olympics powerlifting club in that city.
He was the head coach of the Moose Jaw provincial championship team in 1996 and in 1998 he was the head coach of the Special Olympics Saskatchewan powerlifting team, which won team of the year honours.
Cormier also made an active contribution to the sport as an administrator. He served as SPA president from 1991 to 1992. He played a leading role in the unification of the SPA and the Saskatchewan Drug Free Powerlifting Association in 1996.
He chaired various powerlifting competitions, including four SPA provincial championships in 1992, 1997, 2002, and 2004. He chaired the Western Canadian Open powerlifting championship in 1997, the Can-Am Police and Fire Games powerlifting competition in 1998, as well as the 2001 and 2003 IPF World Masters championships.
Cormier still has one more goal as an athlete before he retires permanently from competitive lifting. He wants to qualify for the 2018 Canadian Powerlifting Union national championship in Calgary in February and he then wants to represent Canada one more time at the 2018 world championships in Calgary in June. He will continue to coach and he enjoys working with younger athletes.
“I have athletes that are 12 that are powerlifting,” he said. “It's exciting, because it's the future of the sport. If you dedicate your whole life to doing something, and then when you leave it, it dies. It's like it never existed.”
His own involvement with the sport did not come without some sacrifices and he had to miss family or other social events, but he still remembers the words that were written on a wall in Dave Pyle's gym in Moose Jaw.
“At the end of your journey, when you look over your shoulder, and you look back, make sure there's no door that wasn't opened,” he recalled. “That you took the opportunity, and I have taken all the opportunities that I could have.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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