Nick Thierry, the late founder and publisher of SwimNews Magazine and SwimNews.com, is to be honoured by the Canadian Olympic Committee with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
He is one of 41 individuals to be recognized for their exceptional work within the Canadian high-performance sport community. A formal announcement will be made later today, in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth II Accession Day.
All nominated candidates were evaluated by a formal selection committee, chaired by International Olympic Committee member Richard Pound, and including three-time Olympic medallist Catriona Le May Doan, and Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut.
"We are proud to have the unique opportunity to honour this exceptional Canadian for his contributions to fellow citizens, communities, and country," said Aubut, in his letter of announcement.
Nick was a national- and Olympic-level swimming coach, administrator, and founder and publisher of SwimNews magazine and its internet pendant www.swimnews.com. Arguably the best single-sport, non-commercial monthly in the world, his magazine was an indispensable source of swimming news, history, and issue analysis for nearly 40 years.
His volunteer contribution to the sport was extensive: from the 1960s, Nick’s desire to give his own athletes a basis for performance comparison was spurring on his obsession with swimming statistics. From the very first issue of SWIM magazine in 1974 he established the publication of Age Group and Senior ranking lists that became an invaluable resource for generations of swimmers, parents, coaches, and eventually media.
During the 1980s, Nick's rankings efforts extended to the world, his almost daily work creating a bible unique in the archive of swimming history.
He passed away on Oct.2, 2012 after suffering a debilitating stroke. His contribution to world swimming is already sorely missed, his contribution transcending the splendid award bestowed on him in Canada today.
George Block, head of the World Swimming Coaches Association, said: "There are very few people who really spend their life “growing the sport”. Many say they do, but they are really growing their own slice of the pie. Nick Thierry spent his life baking the pie for others to eat. Nick spent his entire life growing our sport. When he died, our sport became smaller."
John Leonard, head of the American Swimming Coaches Association, noted: "Our sport is one in which we stand on the platform made by performances, and the accurate reporting, coordination and retention of those performances are what gives context and meaning to each of them.
"We live on and thrive with Rankings, with knowing how a particular performance stacks up; at present, in the framework of history and in terms of specific eras within the sport. The thread of history delivers context, contributes to our understanding of the outstanding, the aberration, the sensation, the pioneering, the progress unfolding before our eyes. Nick was the guardian and keeper of all that."
A living legacy is now taking shape for Nick's work and the plans he and partners had been building before he passed away. We will bring you news of those in the near future.