Diane Clement was born in 1936 in Moncton. She is a distinguished track and field sprinter renowned for holding several Canadian sprinting records. She secured a bronze medal for Canada in the women’s 4×110 yard relay at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
In 1956, Diane Clement made history as the first athlete originating from New Brunswick to represent Canada at an Olympic Summer Games. Subsequently, in 1959, she broke new ground by becoming the first female coach for the University of British Columbia women’s track and field team. Pioneering further, she was the inaugural female president of an athletic federation in Canada and the first woman to hold the position of honorary vice-president at the International Amateur Athletic Federation Congress.
Clement’s remarkable contributions to sports have been acknowledged through her inductions into both the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Additionally, she has been honoured as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Diane Matheson, celebrated as Canada’s premier short-distance sprinter in the 1950s, relocated to Toronto in 1954 to prepare for the 1956 Olympic Summer Games in Melbourne. Representing the Moncton Olympic Track Club, she was a mere 18 years old when she established Canadian records in the women’s 100- and 220-yard events during a Canadian Olympic training competition in Toronto. She repeatedly set Canadian records in the women’s 100 m, 100 yards, 220 yards, and 200 m. Her personal bests included times of 11.8 seconds for the 100 m and 24.7 seconds for the 200 m, both achieved in 1956.
At the Canadian Track and Field Championships, Diane accumulated a total of five medals. In 1956, she secured a gold medal in the women’s 220 yards and a bronze in the women’s 100 yards, followed by golds in both the women’s 100 yards and 220 yards in 1957, and a silver in the women’s 220 yards in 1958. Additionally, she unofficially broke the world record in the women’s 220 yards, but this achievement wasn’t officially recognized due to a discrepancy in the race distance, with competitors only running 219 yards.
Internationally, Clement’s pinnacle achievement for Canada was securing a bronze medal at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff, Wales.
Between 1973 and 1976, Diane Clement broke new ground as the president of Athletics Canada, becoming the first woman to lead a sports federation in Canada. During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in Canada’s triumphant performances at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City. Under her leadership, Montreal had the distinction of becoming the first Canadian city to host an Olympic Summer Games in 1976.
Beyond her athletic and administrative accomplishments, Diane Clement is a renowned chef and author. She has penned eight cookbooks and, alongside her daughter Jennifer, co-founded the Tomato Fresh Food Café in Vancouver.
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