Frank O’Leary combined exceptional athletic performances with valuable coaching service to put together an outstanding athletic career as a competitor and as a coach. His record of achievement and contribution set a high standard for others to follow.
As an athlete, between 1967 and 1971 he established age group provincial records for the shot put, discus and javelin. He was 17 when he broke the provincial senior javelin record for the first time and continued his assault upon that event for 20 years, during which he was undefeated as a javelin thrower.
He won the provincial senior javelin championship every year from 1970 to 1989. His provincial senior javelin record lasted for 21 years from 1970 to 1991. While he dominated provincial javelin within Newfoundland and Labrador, he was extremely successful in competitions in Canada, United States and Great Britain.
It is interesting to note that while he dominated javelin throwing he consistently placed well in the shot put, hammer throw and the pole vault, winning medals at competitions at various locations.
During a competitive career spanning almost 25 years, O’Leary raised the provincial javelin record by almost thirty-two feet, from the mid sixties mark of 160 feet to 191 feet 9 inches. He coached the athletes who subsequently broke his records.
His coaching career began in 1975 while he was still competing. A national level 3 certified coach for javelin and shot put, he served as provincial throwers coach travelling around the province, including Labrador, to conduct training clinics. He inaugurated a winter training program for throws athletes.
He served as vice-president for the provincial athletic association, inaugurated a quarterly "Throwers" magazine to provide athletes outside St. John’s with training and coaching information, and was throwers coach at Royal Canadian Legion national championships in St. John’s. He was selected by the provincial organization to attend high level coaching clinics at Montreal World Cup.
In 1983 he received a certificate of achievement for outstanding contributions to athletics and formed an association with Bill Heikkila of Sport Canada, a former Canadian record holder in javelin, to improve his personal competitive training and coaching development.
He was deeply involved with physically challenged athletes who were involved in athletics and coached individuals like wheelchair athlete Joanne McDonald and blind athlete Bill Royle for national competition.
Included in the many athletes who benefited from his interest and coaching ability were provincial recorder holders Libby Wadland, Terry Dyer, Dave Dyer, Tony Granter, Lloyd Taylor and Steve Wiseman.
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