Olympic bronze medallist Tony Sharpe was arguably the most notable name among medal presenters at the 2017 OFSAA (Ontario high school) Track and Field Championships. Sharpe admitted to using steroids at the 1989 Dubin inquiry and was coached by Charlie Francis, who provided performance-enhancing drugs to Sharpe and Ben Johnson, among others.
Sharpe was reinstated to coach nationally in 2012. Three years after he was reinstated, the Pickering, Ont.-based The Speed Academy coach won Athletics Canada’s development coach of the year. Sharpe founded The Speed Academy in 2006 and has coached Canada at numerous world championships at the youth and junior levels.
“The fact of the matter is, enhancement drugs, it’s not a topic of discussion that we really have with this generation,” Sharpe told the Toronto Star in 2012. “It’s not something that we have to be lecturing our kids about these days. Not my track kids.”
Sharpe is well-known for mentoring Andre De Grasse early in his career. The Puma-sponsored track star won three medals, including a silver in the 200m, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“The Applicant demonstrated sincerity, contrition, remorse and a passion for the sport of track and field and the promotion of drug-free sport,” mediator Larry Banack wrote in Sharpe’s reinstatement decision. Sharpe was never given a lifetime ban.
Other medal presenters at the Ontario high school championships include University of Guelph coach Dave Scott-Thomas, Western University’s Vickie Croley, the Brunsting brothers and many others. Sharpe handed out medals to the boys 4x100m relay teams on Friday; he’s expected to do the same for the boys 200m events on Saturday.
Cheryl Thibedeau, who was given a lifetime suspension at the time for using banned substances, was expected to present medals too but organizers removed her from the program. Ontario high school track and field championships organizers declined to comment on both Sharpe and Thibedeau presenting at the awards ceremonies.
The OFSAA Championships conclude on Saturday.
– Laura Parkinson sets new Canadian interscholastic 1,500m record
– The Ontario Grade 9 1,500m champion has the fastest name in athletics
– Videos and post-race interviews from the OFSAA 1,500m races
– OFSAA senior boys 1,500m finish