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Richmond track giant passes away

By Don Fennell

Published 5:02 PDT, Wed July 14, 2021

Last Updated: 5:08 PDT, Wed July 14, 2021

Richmond’s track and field community is mourning the loss of one of its great contributors with the passing of Jean-Jacques Schmidt.

Known simply as JJ to his many friends, Schmidt was drawn to the Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club in 1980, when his daughter Frederique joined as an athlete, recalls longtime member Fred Pawluk.

Always sporting a wide smile and receptive nature, it was clear Schmidt had a deep fondness for athletics. He held various positions within the Kajaks, immersing himself as both a coach and runner. His legacy in coaching began with his guiding the nine- to 14-year-olds and culminated in overseeing the Masters group from 2000 through 2019.

“His coaching skills and integrity were honoured with his induction into the Richmond Sports Wall of Fame in 2019,” said Pawluk, noting this recognition can be viewed at Richmond's Olympic Oval venue.

All told, Schmidt’s involvement with the Kajaks extended to organizational leadership on the board of directors, in countless Richmond road races, and his volunteering at the annual B.C. Elementary School Track and Field meets over a 39-year span.

“This unparalleled commitment to Kajaks and the Richmond community will sorely be missed,” said Pawluk.

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