It’s been over three decades since Sport for Life Director Tom Jones represented Canada at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, but he can still picture the look on his coach’s face the moment they qualified for semifinals. It had been a hard-fought battle against Japan, and would eventually lead the 27-year-old athlete and his teammates to a 4th place finish overall.
“There was so much pressure going into that game, and I remember feeling this flood of relief when it was over. Our coach was Japanese, but even though we’d beaten his country you could see how proud he was of us and the game we played,” said Jones.
“It was one of those moments that stays with you.”
Recently Volleyball Canada announced that his team will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which brought back a wave a positive memories for Jones. Alongside his teammates, many whom he hasn’t seen since their final Olympic game, he will be attending a ceremony in Ottawa on June 6.
“When I think back to my pathway as an athlete, I played all the sports just because I liked them. I had a real multisport background that helped me develop my physical literacy. But eventually I gravitated towards volleyball, because that was the sport I liked the most,” Jones said.
Following the Olympics he retired, but he continued playing professionally overseas for several years. These days he makes sure to play recreationally, but his new passion is mobilizing physical literacy knowledge via Sport for Life and sharing some of the insights he’s gleaned over the course of his career.
“It sounds simple, but I just enjoyed playing. I always felt like I was improving. I think we sometimes forget that people play sports because they like them, even at the competitive level. I was always thinking ‘this is so cool to be doing what I do as a professional but still enjoy it.’”