2012 – Randy Starkman

Randy Starkman

Rare is the moment when a collection of athletes, sports officials and journalists shed tears together. Then again, the man prompting that display of emotion en masse on a Saturday morning in London on the final weekend of the Summer Olympics, was a rare breed in today’s world of journalism that’s often cynical and now includes 140-character bursts of speculation, rumours and opinions.
For the first time in 14 Olympic Games, Randy Starkman wasn’t there. The highly-respected, much-loved Toronto Star sportswriter died suddenly in April at the age of 51. Randy’s impact and imprint on the Canadian Olympic sports community was in full view at the London Games. The Canadian Olympic Committee announced before the Games that their media room at Canada Olympic House would be named The Randy Starkman Press Room. “Flat Randys”, a tribute to the Flat Stanley that Randy took to sporting events around the world and then into classrooms to speak with students about his experiences, could be found all over London.
The COC paid further tribute by holding a breakfast in his honour on the Games’ final weekend. Olympic champion Marnie McBean tearfully told the gathering “Randy was there when we were nothing and followed us until we became something.” Clara Hughes said “Randy will be in my heart forever”
We’ll leave the last word to daughter Ella, the greatest masterpiece produced by Randy and his journalist wife, Mary Hynes.
“My Dad wasn’t one for the spotlight but today at Canada Olympic House no one could argue the fact that he fully deserved it,” Ella wrote for the Star. “I had the privilege to attend a breakfast tribute honouring my Dad, Randy Starkman, attended by his friends in the media and many athletes whose lives he touched.
“As someone with a profound dislike for sports, I went in not knowing what to expect. But as I sat there surrounded by so many athletes who share such a strong love and admiration for my father, I was overcome with emotion.
“For my entire life, I sat and listened to my father drone on and on about the Olympics. But today I realized the full extent of how much he contributed and how much it meant to him. Even though he never threw a hammer or won a race, my Dad was a champion of a different kind.’’