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It was while attending Lakeview High School that this athlete was inspired by the wrestlers training with Hall of Fame coach Reino Niemi. Taking to the mats himself, he went on to earn success at provincial, national and international events during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In 1978 he claimed gold in the 72 kg class at the OFSAA championships and a bronze at the Canadian Junior nationals in the 68 kg division. The following year he brought home an individual OFSAA silver medal and contributed to Lakeview's winning of the gold medal as overall champions, and was named the 1978-79 Lakeview High School Senior Male Athlete of the Year.

Honing his skills with the Lakehead University wrestling club, he brought home gold from the 1980 Ontario Summer Games and a bronze from the junior nationals. Earning a top 5 finish at the 1981 nationals, he claimed a bronze medal at the 1982 Canadian Wrestling Championships, with his success earning him a spot within the Canadian national team program as a carded athlete.

Following time in Regina at the national training centre he headed to Simon Fraser University where he claimed gold in the 190 lb class at the 1984 Washington State College Wrestling Championships and a 4th place finish at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) championships, before returning to the Lakehead to help out as an assistant coach and continue to train and compete.

His 1987 season included a national silver medal combined with silver medal performances in the 82 kg class in Freestyle and Greco-Roman at both the Pan-American Wrestling Championships and the 1987 Pan-American Games in Indianapolis, where he faced world champion Mark Schultz of the USA in the freestyle final.

Adding another national silver medal to his collection in 1989, he stepped away from competition returning in 1995, claiming a silver medal at the Challenge Cup in Manchester. His silver medal in the 82 kg Greco Roman class at the 1996 Olympic Wrestling Trials earned him a trip to the 1996 Pan-American Wrestling Championships in Cali, Columbia.

With a wealth of knowledge and experience gained throughout an athletic career spanning three decades, this dedicated athlete continued to give back to his sport by serving as a mentor and advisor to high school and community wrestlers.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30th, 2017

Lou Kok

Thunder Bay
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