At the climax of the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, thousands of spectators stood and cheered as Saskatoon native Diane Jones Konihowski powered her way to a new world record, and a gold medal, in the pentathlon—a gruelling competition combining shot put, long jump, high jump, 100-m hurdles and 800-m run. Twenty years later, the 47-year-old is proud that her success encouraged other young women to compete in sports. “I’ve been surprised by how many women remember my career,” she says. “I guess there were few athletic women role models to admire in the Seventies.”
Sports are still a major part of Jones Konihowski’s life. She is vice-president of marketing for the National Sport CentreCalgary, where elite athletes train. And she sits on the board of directors at the Canadian Olympic Association and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. “I just love what I do,” she says. “It’s not something you do to earn a lot of money, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” When the issue of the 1980 Moscow Olympics is raised, Jones Konihowski still expresses bitterness about Canada’s decision to boycott the games—which was initiated by the U.S. due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—when she was one of the top-ranked pentathletes. “It was wrong for sport, and it hurt me,” she says. “I never received an Olympic gold medal, and nothing political was achieved.”
Jones Konihowski has been married for 21 years to former Edmonton Eskimo wide receiver John Konihowski, now a businessman who provides sports surfaces to athletic facilities. They have two daughters, 16 and 10, whom their mother describes as “geared” for sports. And Jones Konihowski is geared for the next Olympics. In April, she was appointed chef de mission for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. “Now that was a real honor,” she says, “I can’t wait.”
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