Joe Gatherall combined exceptional talent, appropriate size, impressive determination and an obvious willingness to make sacrifices into a very, very rewarding career as the outstanding sprinter of his era. Blessed with great confidence, he established himself among the very best track and field athletes produced within Newfoundland and Labrador.
The highlight of his career came at the Canadian National Exhibition track meet in Toronto. Despite being up against many of the finest Canadian entries, he was selected as winner of a special Eaton’s award as the meet’s outstanding athlete. He was the only Newfoundlander to ever win the award.
He equaled the ten-seconds flat record for the 100 yard dash and shared it with fellow St. Bon’s teammate Ted Gillies and with St. Pat’s sprinter Jim Emberley. In addition, he held the provincial record for the long jump for several years.
His track and field leadership was very evident in 1957 and 1968 as he was the most valuable factor in St. Bon’s earning the provincial athletics championships. At both championships, in addition to running with the winning St. Bon’s relay team he had two first place finishes, two second place finishes and one third place finish thus gaining 17 individual points for St. Bon’s.
His juvenile and senior performances followed extremely impressive showings at annual Christian Brothers Grammar School Track Meets and victor ludorum showings at St. Bon’s College sports days where the competition was always very strong. His school competitions helped prepare him for various levels of provincial meets.
Possessing a very outgoing personality, he added greatly to any track meet in which he was involved, especially those meets that involved entries from the U.S. military bases at Argentia and Pepperrell. In addition to his athletic achievement, he was a very good senior soccer goalie and played competitive senior basketball.
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