Janice Forsyth, BA'95, MA'0
January 28, 2010
Director, International Centre for Olympic Studies
The International Centre for Olympic Studies
(ICOS) went to a former varsity athlete, three-time Western graduate and
Aboriginal sport expert when selecting a new director.
For Janice Forsyth, the opportunity to return to The
University of Western Ontario and take the helm of the Olympic centre seemed
almost too good to be true.
She has been teaching at the University of Manitoba
since 2005 but prior to that earned her bachelor, master’s and PhD degrees over
14 years at Western.
“This came up and I knew it was meant to be,” says Forsyth,
currently caught up in the paperwork of moving from one province to another, in
addition to teaching and getting a feel for her new responsibilities.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in history,
Forsyth says she was wandering the halls, contemplating her next step. Walking
through Alumni Hall, she came upon a sign for the Olympic centre and was
curious enough to open the door.
“I opened the door and we met Bob Barney,” says Forsyth,
referring to ICOS’s affable founder. “He was like ‘c’mon in.’ And the next
thing I knew I was doing a master’s.”
The master’s in Aboriginal Sport would soon turn into a
PhD. Her research interests included contemporary Aboriginal sport practices in
Canada – specifically the North American Indigenous Games and the Tom Longboat
Awards – the intersection of race, class and gender in Aboriginal sport and
Aboriginal participation in the Olympic Games.
A former varsity athlete in cross-country running, track
and field, and badminton, the member of the Fisher River Cree First Nation
(Manitoba) twice earned All-Canadian status in cross-country running. She also
competed at the 1995 and 2002 North American Indigenous Games for Team Ontario.
Forsyth’s interest in the Olympic centre grew and she
became a member of the board of directors while a student.
“As students here we would always talk about what we would
do if we were director,” she says. “Having been here before and having that
familiarity will make the transition much easier.”
Forsyth’s experience in sport extends beyond the
university. In addition to being a board member with the Canadian Association
for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, she has
represented the Aboriginal Sport Circle, Canada's national voice for Aboriginal
sport and recreation.
She maintains strong links with government and non-profit
sectors in sport, promoting equitable opportunities for Aboriginal people, and
girls and women in sport.
“I’m a person that has had a number of different options,
such as government; and the opportunity to stay in academia also came up,” adds
Forsyth, who is teaching Olympic history in the Department of Kinesiology.
this was easy. The position came up and I applied. It was a no-brainer. I
wanted to return.”
Read the complete story: Western News
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