Despite his diminutive stature, Keith Beard has always stood tall among track and field officials.
Beard began officiating back in his native England in 1948 and has worked at every major provincial, national and international meet since immigrating here in 1957. His resume includes three Commonwealth Games, two Pan Am Games, an Olympics, a World Championship and one World Student Games.
Beard now has another honour added to his already lengthy resume; the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
“He is the grandfather of officials both in Manitoba and very much so in Canada as well,” said Dave Lyon, technical advisor for Athletics Manitoba and a former manager of the Canadian track and field team.
“Obviously, the Number 1 thing is his knowledge. He’s very knowledgeable. He also has a lot of common sense, if you want to call it that, to know to push which rule. And he’s very good at dealing with people.”
Beard is not the first official to enter the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. However, he is the first to be inducted based solely on his work as a track and field official.
“That makes it very special,” Beard said recently. “Obviously I have a feeling that the officials are as important as the athletes inasmuch as they show them the ropes and make sure they know the rules and how far they can go. It really makes a difference to them when they get into the national and international level competitions.”
Keith Beard’s influence on the sport of track and field has extended far beyond race day. He has served on the executive of the Manitoba Track and Field Officials Association for 34 years, including four as chairperson. He is also a former chair of the National Officials Committee for Athletics. He has also played an instrumental role in developing and conducting clinics for officials at the local, provincial and national level.
b. July 4, 1926