Figure skating judge and West Vancouver resident Jean Riley Senft among recent Order of Canada recipients
Jean Riley Senft is the latest in a long list of worthy recipients to be named to the Order of Canada after decades of service in figure skating.
Feeling “honored”, Senft learned of the appointment in mid-November and had to keep the exciting news a secret from those close to her.
âIn fact, I got a phone call from the Governor General’s office on November 17th. So I had to keep this a secret for a while, âshe said.
âI had received so many bot calls from numbers I didn’t recognize and this number I didn’t recognize, and I almost didn’t answer the call. But there was a name underneath, I didn’t know the name, but thought maybe that was something I should answer. So I took the call.
One of 135 new appointments to the Order, Senft was recognized by the Governor General for “her contribution to the sport of figure skating as one of Canada’s leading judges and promoter of fairer judging rules.”
Established in 1967, the Order of Canada honors individuals whose service “shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations, and whose compassion unites our communities.”
But when she reflects on why she may have received the commission, and why more specifically now, Senft recalls her work at the Nagano 1998 Olympics and 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. In 1998, Senft exposed corruption in the ranks of judges, and in 2002, it was determined that a similar thing was happening.
“I think I received this order because of the path I took after the Olympic Games, where I defended the right of athletes to a level playing field, and went to the Lausanne Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Switzerland, to prove that the judges were cheating and predicting the results.
Now having strong support from Skate Canada, Senft said she feels incredibly humbled by the award.
âThe road was often uncomfortable and lonely. And so to have that recognition now, I’m grateful for it.