Mark Tewksbury

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Mark Tewksbury
Personal information
Full name Marcus Tewksbury
Nickname(s) "Mark"
Nationality  Canada
Born (1968-02-07) February 7, 1968 (age 46)
Calgary, Alberta
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 80 kilograms (180 lb)
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Backstroke
College team University of Calgary

Marcus "Mark" Tewksbury, MSM (born February 7, 1968 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is a Canadian former swimmer. He is best known for winning the gold medal in the 100 metres backstroke at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He also hosted the first season of How It's Made, a Canadian documentary series, in 2001.

Tewksbury was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) in 1993 for being a "motivational speaker and a gifted athlete." [1]

Competitive swimming[edit]

Raised in Calgary, Alberta, Tewksbury trained at the University of Calgary.

He competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and won a silver medal as part of Canada's relay team. For some years he ranked as one of the top backstrokers in the world; never a strong below-the-water swimmer, he was unmatched on the surface, but, as the importance of below-the-water swimming increased, Tewksbury's ranking began to fall.

Going into Barcelona, Tewksbury was ranked fourth in the world and most pundits picked one of the powerful American swimmers to win gold. Tewksbury's gold medal was Canada's first at the Barcelona games and the first Canadian gold in swimming since the Communist-boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Tewksbury also won a bronze medal in the relay event in Barcelona. He made the cover of Time magazine. He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame and was named Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year. After the Barcelona games, Tewksbury retired from swimming.

Post-swimming career[edit]

After retirement, Tewksbury received a number of high-profile endorsement deals and worked as an athlete representative with the IOC, a position from which he resigned in disenchantment in 1998, accusing the IOC of rampant corruption. He was also part of the group of former Olympic athletes that was pushing for the resignation of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. Only months after the scandal surrounding the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic winter Games broke, Tewksbury became prominent around the world as a critic of the IOC and demanded reforms to the system.

In 1993, Tewksbury and Mark Leduc both gave interviews about their homosexuality to the CBC Radio series The Inside Track for "The Last Closet", a special episode about homophobia in sports;[2] however, as neither was ready to fully come out at the time, both interviews were given anonymously and recorded through voice filters. In December 1998, Tewksbury officially came out as gay; he subsequently lost a six-figure contract as a motivational speaker because he was "too openly gay."[3]

Tewksbury was also highly critical of Swimming Canada's organization in the wake of the national team's poor performance at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where they failed to medal. He suggested that there was a lack of accountability within Swim Canada, and that head coach Dave Johnson was given too much power.[4][5]

Tewksbury and Martina Navratilova read the Declaration of Montreal at the opening ceremonies of the World Outgames.

Tewksbury became a prominent advocate for gay rights and gay causes in Canada and the world. On May 16, 2003, Tewksbury joined the board of directors for the 2006 World Outgames in Montreal and was named co-president. He was a panelist at the 2003 National Gay and Lesbian Athletics Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on a panel of LGBT Olympians that also included rower Harriet Metcalf and high jumper Brian Marshall.[6]

Tewksbury was the narrator for the TV show How It's Made during the first season. In 2006, he published his second book, an autobiography entitled Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock.[3] Tewksbury remains a public figure working as a motivational speaker, a television commentator for swimming events, and a continued activist. He is a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation.

On November 30, 2006 Tewksbury was the Master of Ceremonies for the Tribute to former Prime Minister Paul Martin at the Liberal Party of Canada's Leadership and Biennial Convention in Montreal.

During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tewksbury served as CBC Sports' Swimming analyst alongside play-by play announcer Steve Armitage.

In December 2008 Tewksbury was invited by the government of France to speak at the United Nations in New York City on the day that a declaration was introduced that affirms gay rights and seeks to decriminalize homosexuality.

On September 19, 2009 Tewksbury was inducted into Canada's LGBT Human Rights Hall of Fame, the Q Hall of Fame Canada, in honour of his outstanding achievements and efforts to end discrimination in the sports world.

On August 5, 2010, he was named the chef de mission of the 2012 Canadian Summer Olympic team.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Silken Laumann
Lou Marsh Trophy winner
1992
Succeeded by
Mario Lemieux