Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Curt Harnett
2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.
Peddling to the medals, Curt Harnett is one of Canada’s leading racing cyclists.
Curt Harnett found a love for cycling when he first started riding a bike, without training wheels, at five-years-old. It was his high school football coach who introduced him to the competitive sport as a way to stay in shape during the hockey off-season. Eventually, a contender for a spot in the OHL, Harnett decisively left his skates for a bicycle in 1982.
He has represented Canada four times at the Olympic Games, bringing home three medals. In 1984, he won silver in the 1,000m time trial, along with a bronze in the 1992 and 1996 match sprint. He has also won more than 30 national titles including two match sprint silver medals from the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games. As well, he won a gold 1,000m time trial medal and bronze match sprint medal at the 1987 Pan American Games.
On top of these achievements, Harnett was the first man to break the 10-second barrier for 200m. He set the record of 9.865 seconds in 1995 in Bogota, Colombia, averaging at a speed of nearly 73 km/h, he held the astounding record for 11 years.
Although Harnett retired in 1996, he has remained an involved member of the Canadian cycling community. He was a colour commentator at the Olympics in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and London (2012), and has been involved with numerous charities across Canada including the Special Olympics and Right to Play. Harnett has also given back through his involvement with the Board of Directors for the Canadian Cycling Association, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the City of Toronto’s bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. Most recently, he was the Chef de Mission for Canada at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Barnett also manages to find time for touring as a motivational speaker. He draws on his own experiences in the sport to encourage young Canadians to aim high and reach their dreams.
To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit sportshall.ca.