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Making headlines as prominent players in sport

By Jeff Green

A Memorial professor has been named one of this country’s most influential women in sport.

Dr. Mary Bluechardt, director of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, was the only person from Atlantic Canada chosen by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity as a leading player in sports for 2008.

She said she was humbled by being selected as one of only 20 women to receive the honour. The list was released Jan. 28.

“It is indeed an honor, and to be acknowledged by peers really means a great deal,” Dr. Bluechardt said modestly.

“A number of people are working very hard to bring about change in the Canadian sport system and it is an exciting time to be a part of that change.”

Dr. Bluechardt is renowned for her research development work that has advanced the lives of those living with disabilities through sport. And, she is the only woman to sit on the panel of experts advising Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) strategy.

“I must thank the other members of the LTAD Expert Group, it is a pleasure working with them and together we will be in a much better place regarding physical activity and sport in Canada in the future,” she said.

A noted volunteer, Dr. Bluechardt has spent many years working with Special Olympics and served as Special Olympics Canada’s director of coach development from 2001-05. Last October, she joined the Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador’s board of directors.

Dr. Bluechardt is also a past recipient of the YWCA woman of distinction for health and wellness honour.