Interview with Diane Jones Konihowski

Sport Oral History Archive
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00:00:12 - Introductions

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Partial Transcript: Born in Vancouver, moved to Saskatoon when I was five. Did all, or most of my athletic career in Saskatoon.

Segment Synopsis: Diane tells us a little bit about herself including where she was born, where she grew up, a brief timeline of her athletic career, and where she lives now.

Keywords: Alberta; Alberta Sport Council; Communications; Edmonton; Edmonton Eskimos; Fund Development; Kids Sport Canada; Moscow; Olympics; Premiere Executive Suites; Theatre Calgary; University of Calgary; University of Saskatchewan; decathlon; heptathlon

Subjects: Career Impacts

00:03:03 - Please describe your relationship to the Canada Games.

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Partial Transcript: I was very honored to be a part of that first Canada Games, Winter Games in Quebec City. We were a high school team.

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about her early experiences competing as a high school student at the 1967 Canada Winter Games in Quebec City, and the 1969 Canada Summer Games in Halifax-Dartmouth.

Keywords: 1967; Aden Bowman Collegiate; Age Range; Athletes Village; Bronze Medal; Canada Games Council; Canadian Olympic Association; Commonwealth Games; Gold Medal; Halifax-Dartmouth; High Jump; Pan-Am Games; Quebec City; Team Saskatchewan; Track & Field

Subjects: Athlete Pathway; Career Impacts

00:08:06 - What event did you compete in at the 1967 Canada Winter Games in Quebec?

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Partial Transcript: Yeah I was a volleyball player those were my two sports when I got to University of Saskatchewan.

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about why she chose to pursue track & field as her career sport.

Keywords: Olympics; Track & Field; University of Saskatchewan; Volleyball

00:08:47 - What other events were there at those first Canada Games in 1967?

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Partial Transcript: Well those are the early, early days of the Games in Canada and it was always, you know you've always got the dining hall, you know where you're able to sit down with even other athletes from other sports...

Segment Synopsis: Diane recalls some of the different social activities provided for athletes at the very first Canada Winter Games in 1967 in Quebec City.

Keywords: Athletes Village; Camaraderie; Dancing; Socializing

Subjects: Unity Through Sport

00:10:24 - What was it like to light the torch for the opening ceremonies at the 1971 Canada Winter Games in Saskatoon?

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Partial Transcript: Well I was living, and Saskatoon was my hometown at that time, and I was asked to light the torch at the opening ceremonies, which I did.

Segment Synopsis: Diane recalls what it was like to light the torch for the opening ceremonies at the 1971 Canada Winter Games in Saskatoon.

Keywords: Blackstrap Mountain; Jacket; Opening Ceremonies; Sasktatoon; Team Saskatchewan; Torch

Subjects: Spectator's Perspective

00:11:31 - Were the Canada Games in ’67 and ‘69 a “big deal” then, compared to today?

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Partial Transcript: Athletes don’t really think about those kind of things and I was young at that time you know um, but no as I said initially, they were unique in that possibly many of the athletes had competed at a national championship in their own sport...

Segment Synopsis: Diane says that the Canada Games were important for young athletes looking to advance to higher levels in their athletic careers, and it allowed them a chance to represent their province.

Keywords: Athlete Pathway; Closing Ceremonies; Olympics; Opening Ceremonies; Pan-Am Games

Subjects: Athlete Mentality in Competitions

00:13:54 - Do you still keep in touch with any of the people you met at those early Canada Games?

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, my husband [laughs]. No, I mean I've been out of sport since just after Vancouver Olympic Games...

Segment Synopsis: Diane has been out of sport for a while so she no longer keeps in touch with some of the people that she knew at the Canada Games.

Keywords: 1972; 1974; 1976; Commonwealth Games; Montreal; Olympic Committee

Subjects: Friendships at the Canada Gamesl

00:14:37 - Did you trade pins with people at the 1967 or 1969 Canada Games?

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Partial Transcript: You know I can't really remember. I think I first experienced that at my first Olympic Games in Munich in ‘72.

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about pin collecting later in her career, but cannot remember if they traded pins at the Canada Games in 1967 and 1969.

Keywords: Pin(s)

Subjects: Pin Collecting

00:15:29 - What was the role of sport & exercise, especially youth sport, in Canadian culture and society during the 1960s and 1970s?

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Partial Transcript: When did participation… sorry participACTION, that was that was around there, I think the government was supporting that but as an athlete representing Canada, there wasn’t a lot of money putting into national teams.

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about Canadian attitudes towards high-level sport in the early 1970s, and the lack of government funding that existed for national sport and athlete development.

Keywords: 1976; Britain; France; Gear; John Munro; Minister of Sport; Olympics; Own the Podium; ParticiPACTION; Uniforms; Vancouver

Subjects: Athlete Mentality in Competitions; Government Relations; Sport & Recreation in Canada

00:18:43 - How did the Canada Games impact your future career?

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Partial Transcript: Well I think, definitely for me the Summer Games were in ’69, were positive for me and it was really one of the many stepping stones for me to get to be number one in the world.

Segment Synopsis: Diane says the Canada Games were an early experience that she enjoyed participating in, her success adding another level of confidence in her journey towards achieving her Olympic goals.

Keywords: Athlete Pathway; Commonwealth Games; Gold Medal; Olympics; Pan-Am Games; Team Saskatchewan

Subjects: Athlete Mentality in Competitions; Career Impacts

00:20:15 - Did the Canada Games in any way prepare you for those bigger multi-sport competitions that you entered later on?

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Partial Transcript: It was so early in my career you know I mean really and I think the age limits now are lower for sure than when I competed in ’69 as I say my sport had no age, so we had athletes that I can remember, that were in their 20s, late 20s...

Segment Synopsis: Diane says that all of her multi-sport competitions, including the Canada Games, helped prepare her for higher-level competition later on.

00:21:15 - Tell us about your return to the 1989 Canada Games as an Ambassador.

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Partial Transcript: Well I think because I was a very well-known athlete, very well-known athlete through the 70s and 80s, and Saskatoon was my hometown right?

Segment Synopsis: Diane explains how she was involved in the 1989 Canada Summer Games in Saskatoon as a retired athlete ambassador originally from Team Saskatchewan.

Keywords: Alberta; Canada Games Ambassador; Canada Games Council; Coaching Association of Canada; Doc Seaman; Fair Play Canada; Olympic Committee; Retired Athlete; Team Saskatchewan; Victor Davis

00:23:00 - What were your conversations with the athletes like? What sorts of things did you discuss with them?

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Partial Transcript: I don’t think it was that athlete-focused Elizabeth, it was more the high-profile stuff with corporate sponsors and that sort of thing, you know?

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about mentoring others, and her pride in being a professional athlete from a smaller Canadian community. She says the Canada Games is a great opportunity for young athletes from smaller communities across the country to have a chance to compete.

Keywords: East Germany; Elbow; Mentoring; Morinville; Russia; Saskatchewan

Subjects: Sponsorship

00:26:14 - Can you tell us a little bit more about your husband John Konihowski and how he has been involved in the Games?

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Partial Transcript: It’s a story that's in the Canada Games book ‘cuz he was a very well-known athlete at that time in Saskatchewan as well, represented Canada many times, but ended up playing professional football in the CFL for many years...

Segment Synopsis: Diane and her husband John Konihowski were both Saskatchewan athletes who met briefly in 1966, and became interested in eachother a few years later at the 1969 Canada Summer Games in Halifax-Dartmouth.

Keywords: British Columbia; Canadian Football League; Dancing; John Konihowski; Richmond; Romantic Relationships

Subjects: Friendships at the Canada Games

00:27:55 - Can you tell us some more about your work at the 1991 Canada Games in Charlottetown as a member of the Team Alberta Mission staff?

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Partial Transcript: Well behind every Games team, team of athletes and coaches is the “Mission Staff” okay? You see that at Olympic Games, and I was a Chef de Mission in 2000 in Sydney.

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about her work in supporting the Alberta coaches and athletes as a volunteer at the 1991 Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown, PEI.

Keywords: 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway; Argentina; Canada Games Council; Charlottetown; Liaison; Pan-Am Games

Subjects: Mission Staff; Volunteering

00:29:59 - Are there any Canada Games that stand out in your memory as particularly special?

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Partial Transcript: Not really I mean I just am always so proud of every Canadian city that hosts a Games, a multi-sport Games, 'cuz we do such a good job, we do.

Segment Synopsis: Diane compliments Canadian host cities for the commendable job they do in hosting the Canada Games and other multi-sport events.

Keywords: Athletes; Coach(es); Opening Ceremonies

Subjects: Built Legacy; Media; Volunteering

00:32:02 - What other work did you do with the Canada Games Council?

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Partial Transcript: Well I think, well I attended as a member of the council I attended the Winter Games in Grande Prairie and I believe I was on the council two years prior to that.

Segment Synopsis: Diane was a member of the Canada Games Council for a few years in the 1990s but she was very busy with multiple national sport committees at the time so she couldn't offer a big time commitment to the CGC at that time.

Keywords: 1993; Canada Games Council; Canadian Center for Drug-free Sport; Coaching Association of Canada; Fair Play Canada; Jack Pelech; Sport Canada

Subjects: Organizing the Canada Games

00:34:30 - Can you talk a little more about the anti-doping movement and how it played out in the Canada Games?

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Partial Transcript: Woah loaded question. Okay um, drug testing prior to 1990 in Canada was and actually, around the world I mean, we weren't tested when we went to international events or Games.

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about athlete use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional-level sport during her career as a track and field athlete, and the work she did with organizations like Fair Play Canada and the Canadian Center for Drug-Free Sport after she retired.

Keywords: 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal; Ben Johnson; Canadian Center for Drug-Free Sport; Drug testing; Dubin Inquiry; East Germany; Fair Play Canada; International Olympic Committee (IOC); Russia

Subjects: Drug Testing/Anti-Doping Movement; Health & Healthcare

00:41:46 - In your opinion, did one’s gender affect their Canada Games experience?

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Partial Transcript: I didn't see any difference, that wasn't an issue for me at all. I just wanted to do sport. I thought that there was equality on the playing field.

Segment Synopsis: Diane explains her experiences participating in different committees as a retired athlete, and specifically as a female athlete.

Keywords: Board of Directors; Canadian Olympic Committee; Female; Women

Subjects: Inclusivity in Sport; Women & Gender Equity

00:45:17 - What have the Canada Games taught you about what it means to be Canadian?

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Partial Transcript: Well, I guess I’ve always felt that when you get on the basketball court or the volleyball court, you’re in the swimming pool, you're on the track right?

Segment Synopsis: Diane speaks about the beauty she saw in athletes competing against each other from different provinces and territories and getting to visit all different parts of Canada.

Keywords: City; Community; Country; Halifax; Northwest Territories

Subjects: Canadian Identity; Unity Through Sport

00:49:07 - Do you plan on following the Canada Games in Niagara in 2022? Is there anything you hope to see?

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Partial Transcript: I'm sure that Niagara will do an amazing job as I said earlier I truly believe that every Canadian city takes such pride in hosting a major sporting event and they do such a good job.

Segment Synopsis: Diane says she believes Niagara will do a great job in hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games, despite having to navigate the roadblocks that come with Covid-19.

Keywords: 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara

00:50:43 - Overall, what are your thoughts on the Canada Games experience?

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Partial Transcript: Very positive, obviously I mean the Canada Games concept whoever thought of it, it was just a really really good thing to do because it, I do believe that it will launch the career many of our young athletes...

Segment Synopsis: Diane talks about her appreciation for the Canada Games, and about her daughter and her experience as a second-generation Canada Games athlete.

Keywords: 2001 Canada Sumer Games in London

Subjects: Career Impacts