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This pioneer in the sport of women's judo got her introduction to the sport with the Thunder Bay Budokan Judo Club in 1977 at just twelve years of age. It was not long before she made a name for herself at the national level, claiming Canadian Junior titles and the US Judo Association Junior National Championship crown in 1979.

Stepping up to national senior competition as part of the Canadian team from 1984-92, Sandra garnered many laurels under her belt, including six Canadian Senior National titles and Canada Cup medals. Internationally, she competed in no less than three World Judo championships and won silver at the inaugural 1989 Francophonie Games in Morocco. More silver medals were claimed at the Pan-American Judo Championships in both 1984 and 1988 and the 1989 West German Open. The 1987 Pan-American Games saw her atop the podium in Indianapolis striking gold in the 66kg event, which was followed up by a bronze medal at the 1988 Austrian Open.

With women's judo making its first Olympic appearance in Seoul in 1988, it seemed only fitting that Sandra would represent Canada on the Olympic Team. Back on the Olympic mats in Barcelona in 1992, she created an upset when she won in a close match against Japan's Ryoko Fujimoto in the qualifying rounds. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury sustained during that match ended her hopes of advancing further.

Sandra's devotion to the sport of judo marks her as a trailblazer, being described as one of the hardest working female athletes in Judo Canada during her time. Travelling across the country to coach and subsidize her training her intensity had it's price, including two reconstructive knee surgeries, dislocated hips and shoulders.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She was inducted into the Judo Canada Hall of Fame in 2000, and each year the Sandra Greaves Cup is presented by that national body. This outstanding athlete will reign in the record books as a true pioneer and the first female from northwestern Ontario to achieve a first degree black belt in judo, carving out a unique niche for herself in the sports heritage of the region.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 2002

Sandra Greaves

Thunder Bay
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