A Legacy Champion is a lifetime appointment in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Sandra Schmirler Foundation through the initiation and implementation of new strategies and events that have significantly increased the public profile of the Foundation. Our Legacy Champions are Anne Merklinger, Robin Wilson and Lindsay Sparkes who were all instrumental in the creation of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, and Scott Higgins and Vic Rauter from TSN who have been fundamental to the success of the Foundation through their continued support of our vision and with the annual Telethon on TSN, our major fundraising event.
Anne Merklinger has had an impressive career in high-performance sport for over 4 decades as both an athlete and leader. She was a member of Canada’s national swim team from 1977-78 earning a silver medal at the 1979 World University Games. Following her stint in the pool, Merklinger focused her athletic career on curling. A 4-time winner of the Ontario Women’s Curling Championships, she led her team to 2 Scotties Tournament of Hearts finals. Anne served as President of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation from 2001 to 2004 and was one of the core group of friends that established the Foundation. She has over 20 years of management with national sport organizations and is on the Board of Special Olympics Canada. In 2012, she was named CEO of Own the Podium, the world-leading program focused on helping Canadian athletes win more Olympic and Paralympic medals. She lives in Ottawa with her husband Don and their two adult children.
Robin Wilson lives in North Vancouver with her husband Alan. She is a partner in Whitewater Communications and President of Robin Wilson & Associates. Wilson brought the title sponsor, Scott Paper Limited to the then unsponsored Canadian Women’s Curling Championship in 1981. She is widely credited with helping build the event into the premier women’s sporting event in Canada during her 29-year involvement. Robin played second on the Lindsay Sparkes team that captured the Canadian Women’s Curling title in 1976 and 1979 and the bronze medal at the first Women’s World Championship in Perth, Scotland. She received the Award of Achievement from the CCA in 1995 and the Paul McLean Award in 2010 presented by the Canadian Curling Reporters and TSN for outstanding contributions to sport media. Robin has been inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame as both a team member and builder and is a member of the Governor Generals Curling Club.
Lindsay is a 3-time Canadian Champion, World Champion and an Olympic Medalist winning gold in Calgary when curling was a demonstration sport in 1988. She has been inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame and the BC Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the Governor Generals Curling Club. From 1992 to 2003 she served as National Coach/Team Leader for the women’s curling teams who competed internationally. In this capacity she had the privilege of working with and becoming life-long friends with the Sandra Schmirler team. Lindsay, now retired, was a teacher in North Vancouver for over 30 years. She now resides in Comox, BC.
Known as the “Voice of Curling”, Vic Rauter has anchored TSN’s curling coverage for more than 25 years. He provides play-by-play commentary for TSN’s broadcasts of the Season of Champions. Vic is a true gentleman and can be seen before and after games interacting with the fans, posing for pictures and signing autographs. Rauter has provided play-by-play coverage of 10 Olympic games, covering curling and a host of other sports – both summer and winter. Vic has been a part of TSN’s soccer coverage since 1986 and has covered auto racing for many years. In 1999, he was nominated for a Gemini Award as Canada’s top sports broadcaster. A Toronto native, Vic began his broadcasting career in radio before going on to Global and CBC and then finding a home at TSN in 1985. In 2006, he was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
Scott Higgins is the quiet, thoughtful and effective producer of TSN coverage of Seasons of Champions curling events in Canada and Internationally. Higgins commands a crew of over forty people and is also a storyteller. He orchestrates the week depending on key matches and developing storylines. He and his entire crew have been incredibly supportive of the Sandra Schmirler Telethon. Essentially Scott “guides the ship”. He is a curling fan, and though he also works for many other sports, he notes “I’ve grown to love this game. I love the people. I’ve developed a lot of friends through curling over the years. I really enjoy going to the different event sites and having the opportunity to showcase these communities to the rest of Canada”. Scott has 5 Olympic Games under his belt including Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Vancouver and London. His experience is broad and varied and includes World Cup Soccer, Formula One, Figure Skating, Blue Jays baseball, Hockey, Canada Games and Pan Am Games.
Jon Mead and Cathy Overton-Clapham are highly respected and beloved competitive curlers with remarkable accomplishments. Jon won the Junior Men’s Canadian Championship in 1986 and Cathy won the Junior Women’s in 1989. Between them Overton-Clapham and Mead have won 2 World Curling Championships, 7 Canadian Championships and 16 Provincial titles.
Cathy is married with two children – a son and daughter and Jon is married with two daughters.
Jon and Cathy knew Sandra and are dedicated to ensuring that the legacy she left the curling world will live on through future generations. Both act as Ambassadors for curling, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and our primary partner, Curling Canada.