Hall of Fame to celebrate tonight
The Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony and dinner is scheduled for tonight, Aug. 17, at the CharLan Rec. Centre, in Williamstown, where five new inductees will be celebrated, along with 15 graduating high school athletes who have excelled in their sports.
Frank Morris is booked as the featured guest speaker.
What follows is the fifth of five bios of this year’s inductees.
World- class powerlifter, Raymond Gibbs, who got his start hoisting car parts and steel pipes, is honoured to be inducted into the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame this month.
The four-time Canadian and nine-time Ontario champion has lifted in over 30 competitions and credits his sweet success to Alexandria and his many friends, including Ron Pattyn (past owner of Alexandria’s Pattyn’s Gym) and Cameron McCormick, for his successes.
The 57-year-old no longer competes, but claims his love for weightlifting started at the age of 13 while visiting a cousin in Montreal.
According to his wife Lynn, who was also a world-class competitor, he was obsessed.
“He had no weights of his own, so when he got home, he started training with old car parts, steel pipes, and even stones he found on their family farm on the 6th of Kenyon. Once he got to high school, he used the makeshift weights in the furnace room.”
Gibbs attended GDHS (Glengarry District High School) 1973-1977. While going to school, he also played football, hockey, and soccer, but bodybuilding became his passion.
“The turning point happened in 1977 when he was introduced to powerlifting after Ron showed him a magazine,” says Lynn. “They started training together in Ron’s basement gym. After attending a world class powerlifting event in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio, Ray was hooked.”
The strength sport requires contestants to attempt three types of lifts in a set sequence: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
Gibbs moved to Ottawa in 1980, where he and McCormick started seriously training at the YMCA.
Interestingly enough, Gibbs met his wife, Lynn, while training, and today they have two boys, Brendan, 29, and Colin, 26.
While they’re very sportsminded, playing hockey and lacrosse, neither have taken up their parents’ passion.
From 1986 through 1995 (except for 1990), Gibbs took home the Ontario powerlifting championship.
He was the winner of the Canadian competition in 1988, ’89, ’92, and ’95.
Before heading to the worlds level himself, he coached Lynn while she competed in women’s powerlifting at the world championships in Sydney, Australia, in 1987.
He then went on to place 7th in Perth, Australia’s worlds in 1988, 6th in Nova Scotia in 1989, and 13th in Birmingham, England in 1992.
In 1985, he won top honours at the Can-Am Powerlifting Open Sunday at Tupper Lake, New York and was winner in the 100kilo class.
He was featured on CTV’s Regional Contact, where he was interviewed and asked about his athletic accomplishments and future goals.
In 1988, Gibbs, along with the Pattyn’s Gym team, took first prize in the 100-kilo class in the men’s Canadian Powerlifting Championships held in Winnipeg.
That same year, he qualified for worlds that would take him back to the country where he coached Lynn the year before. They were being held in Perth, Australia, and as it was so far away and expensive, his friends and colleagues held a benefit dance to raise funds.
Gibbs worked for Ontario Hydro and trained in any gym where his job would take him, even after he climbed power poles all day.
In addition to his platform success, Gibbs founded the Ottawa Strong Powerlifting Club in 1993. He was president of the Ontario Powerlifting Association and, like his wife, is a provincially sanctioned powerlifting referee.
He’s now retired from the utility company but is dabbling in bee keeping and making organic honey at their Greely home, appropriate since he comes from the Gibbs line of honey makers near Dalkeith.
“I no longer compete but have great memories of those days,” says Gibbs.
“The greatest time was in 1994 at the Canadian Championships in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I travelled there by train with my seven-year-old son, Brendan, and did my personal best of 767.50 kilos.”
Gibbs still works out three to four times a week and continues to be a strong advocate for the sport of powerlifting, while making honey and relishing in the sweet success.
Also slated for induction are Barry Bethune, the Char-Lan junior ‘B’ Rebels team of 1986, Cecilia Cornelissen O’Neil, and Bryan McKenzie. Stories about these inductees were published in earlier editions of
RAYMOND GIBBS: 2016