Northern weightlifter recipient of the first Lorne Lasuita Award

Leo Emond is one of the two inaugural recipients of Lorne Lsasuita Saskatchewan Games Athletic Award. Photo courtesy of Northern Sport Recreation and Culture District (NSCRD).

The Saskatchewan Games Council announced the recipients of its first Lome Lasuita Saskatchewan Games Athletic Award.

Team North weightlifting athlete, Leo Emond, received one of the two awards “following participation in the 2023 Saskatchewan Winter Games in Regina in February, according to a Saskatchewan Games Council news release dated June 22, 2023.  The award is presented to one male and one female athlete, “who best combined competitive performance, strong leadership skills, good sporting conduct and a spirit of fair play, cooperation and friendship,” quoted from the news release.

Emond saw a Poster calling for weightlifters to compete in the Saskatchewan Winter Games about four weeks before the Games, and, “I’ve already been working out a little bit so I decided, I’ll give it a shot.”

He met the challenge.

He got in contact with a trainer and drove to Prince albert to meet him. . It was critical. He then worked with the trainer who critiqued him, what he was doing right, what was wrong.

Although the Games lasted a week, Emond was only there for the first part, the weightlifting events, on the last day.

He spent the time watching other events.

“In competitions it’s the two lifts and you get three attempts at each one.”

For example, one lift was called “the Snatch, where you pick up the bar from the floor and lift overhead, in one movement.”

He won the 89kg weight class, setting a new record, and bringing home Gold.

Tonia Logan, Team North Chef de Mission, recommended Emond for the newly-minted award.

She got to know him through the experience at the games, not only in his dedication to his sport, but his support of the team and other athletes, always intent to learn more about his sport. She also received five letters of recommendation for Emond.

In his letter of recommendation, Cruise Slater, a teacher at Churchill Community High School (CCHS) in La Ronge, noted, “As a co-captain and captain of multiple sports team in school, Leo has demonstrated his exceptional leadership abilities and unwavering commitment to both his teammates and himself. He understands that success in sport is not solely dependent on individual performance, but also on how well the team functions as a cohesive unit.”

“Leo takes his role as a team leader seriously and goes above and beyond to ensure that his teammates are motivated, engaged and working towards a common goal.”

Emond also takes his role in the classroom seriously, “He communicates effectively in class while demonstrating a willingness to listen to others’ opinions and ideas as he strives towards a greater understanding. This leadership is further demonstrated by his involvement in Students Against Drinking and Driving where he engages peers in discussions and encourages others to make healthy choices.”

Tonia Logan, Leo Emond, Emma Smallwood representing Team North. Photo courtesy of the Northern Sport Recreation and Culture District (NSCRD).

Emond won the Gold medal in his first competition, “setting an age group provincial record in the process. His momentum in the sport has continued to build.; he broke even more youth provincial records at this spring’s Saskatchewan Weightlifting Provincial Championships and is looking forward one day to competing on the national stage,” quoted from the news release.

Lasuita spent more than 50 years involved in sport and recreation and “has played a key role in more than 50 multi-sport games, including the Saskatchewan Games, the Canada Games and the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.

“As Provincial Games Consultant until his retirement in 2019, Lasuita played an instrumental role in building the Saskatchewan Games program into what it is today, having been a part of every edition of the biennial Saskatchewan Games from 1974 through 2023,” quoted from the news release.

Lasuita has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, earning a spot as a Builder in the Class of 2023,” according to the news release.

Team North also received the Sask Milk District Spirit Award. The award recipient is chosen through a voting process. Each district is asked to vote for the top three teams; each district has one vote. Voting is done online and sent to the Chef de Mission for each district.

The District team with the most points receives the award. The nomination criteria includes inclusiveness, passionate as a team as well as athletes and coaches, responsive in engagement and collaboration; responsive, which means cooperative, supportive and responsive; and accountable, which means being honest ethical participation displaying the values of fair play, friendship and good sportsmanship.