Paralympic coach Ken Thom died suddenly last Sunday in Cape Town, South Africa as a result of a scuba diving incident, shocking many in the athletics world.
"Ken founded a program when there was none. He built an environment where athletes of all abilities had the opportunity to reach their potential. For many years, he has been one of the constants in our sport, his legacy will remain for many years," said Rick Reelie, athletics Canada wheelchair coach.
"We will never truly fill his void, but I am certain that between his athletes, fellow coaches, clubs and programs around the country, that his mark on the sport will be ever present."
Thom, from Mississauga, Ont., was an instrumental part of Canada's track and field program. He coached his son Curtis to appearances at the 2004, 2012, and 2016 Paralympic Games as well as multiple World Para Athletics Championships. He was also the personal coach for Austin Smeenk and Isaiah Christophe.
Thom leaves behind his wife Karen, three children Christopher, Curtis and Stephanie, and three grandchildren.
"I know I'm not the only one who will miss his enthusiasm, commitment, knowledge and whit, along with that sense of humour where no one laughed harder than Ken at himself," said Reelie.