Hall of Famer
With over 30 years as a FIS Technical Delegate and experience officiating at 16 World Cup races, three Olympics and three World Championships – as well as developing Canada’s officials’ education programs and introducing homologation standards for race course and facility design – Al Maddox is the ultimate volunteer who continues to make a lasting impact on the sport.
Al entered the cross-country national scene as a coach and race organizer in 1975 while representing the Lake Superior Ski Division. His early roles as CCC’s Technical and Officials Chair focused his efforts towards developing consistent officiating standards as Canada prepared to deliver its first World Cup competitions in Whitehorse ’81 and Labrador City ’83. The Calgary ’88 Winter Olympics, where Al served as the Chief of Start and Finish, demanded a more organized approach to preparing Canada’s officiating teams and Al worked with a group of experts from across Canada to develop Cross Country Canada’s first Official’s Manual. The ’88 Olympics brought “opportunities to develop materials and to formalize the training of officials into 5 levels. We were out to prove that Canada could deliver cross-country skiing on the world stage.”
As the Chief of Competition for cross-country for the ’95 Nordic World Championships in Thunder Bay, Al set out to build a local team of qualified officials and was gratified as the community pulled together and produced a lasting legacy of ‘skill and good will’ that remains in our ski community 27 years later. Thunder Bay was awarded a National Team Development Centre (1993) which operated under Al’s influence for 13 formative years and continues to serve aspiring Olympians today.
Al’s successful leadership with his Competition Committee Chiefs at the ’95 Nordics, under very challenging weather conditions, led to his future appointments as ATD for the Nagano ’98 Olympics and as TD at the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City where he witnessed the photo finish of Beckie Scott when she earned her historic bronze medal that eventually became Gold.
Al served as ATD at the 2005 World Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany where Sara Renner earned a bronze medal in the sprint competition. “It was a sweet and memorable moment for Sara and Canada, as she put it all on the line in those final 200m” Al recalls fondly.
In 2004 Al and Dave Dyer convinced the FIS Cross Country Committee to award Canada two world cup events in Dec 2005, one in Canmore,AB and one in Vernon, BC. Subsequently, “Canada’s athletes proved their ability to deliver podium appearances at the WC level by capitalizing on the ‘home field advantage’ which led directly into the Torino Olympics in 2006 where Beckie and Sara earned a silver medal in the Team Sprint and Chandra Crawford dominated the Individual Sprint event to earn Gold!”
Since 2005 Canmore has continued to be on the FIS World Cup calendar. Quebec City was added in Dec. 2012 and Al stepped in as the Chief of Competition to build and mentor a local Competition Committee for future world cups in 2016 and 2020.
Al Maddox continues to volunteer with Nordiq Canada as a member of the Officials Development Working Group where his 45 years of experience is applied to develop Canadian Technical Delegates. He also remains active as a member of the FIS XC Homologation working group where he serves as Homologation Coordinator for North America since 2016. As a key presenter at the 2018 FIS Homologation Seminar, in Planica, Slovenia, he developed nine training videos to help FIS homologation inspectors around the world develop their software skills.
“It was quite an honour to be nominated to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in the first place, and then in turn to be told I was accepted was indeed humbling,” Al said from his home on Nydia Lake near Atikokan, Ontario. “I’ve been around the sport for many, many years and I know a lot of people already in the Hall of Fame – and applaud their well-deserved recognition – so now I’m thrilled to join them!”
Awards & Recognitions
- 1990: CCC’s “Volunteer of the Year” award.
- 1992: “Canada 125 Medallion” award, in recognition for outstanding contribution to the sport of cross-country skiing.
- 1996: CCC’s “Dave Rees” award, for outstanding contribution to the sport.
- 1996-97: Named a “Lifetime Member” of the Big Thunder Nordic program.
- 2003: “Cross Country Ontario Appreciation” award, for outstanding leadership in the development of programs and facilities.
- 2006 Inducted into the North Western Ontario Sports Hall of Fame as a Builder
- 2010: Named Honorary Member of FIS Cross Country Committee (one of only two Canadians to receive this distinction).
- 2020: Canadian Snowsports Association “Pat Ramage” award.