Athletics community mourns death of Paralympic coach Ken Thom

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.

Coached his son Curtis to 3 Paralympic appearances

Paralympic coach Ken Thom died last Sunday in Cape Town, South Africa after a scuba diving incident. (Athletics Canada)

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.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.