Same girls...different track. It’s that simple really. And it’s that simplicity which kept Diane Cummins competing at the top of her game whether at the Olympic Games or at the Victoria International Track Classic.
A middle distance runner born in South Africa, Diane competed in running sports like track, cross country, netball and field hockey as a youngster. Her family moved to Canada in 1994 where, on 10 occasions, she won gold at the Canadian national track championships in the 800 metre.
Diane has run an outstanding 26 times under 2:00 minutes in the 800m. She won a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio, silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. She has maintained a world-class ranking almost four times longer than the average athlete.
Diane followed Charmaine Crooks as Canadian record holder and the second Canadian to break the two-minute barrier in the two lap 800m distance with her 1:58.39 in 2001.
“I think growing up into my adult years, I always aspired to be like Charmaine because she was the great Canadian 800m runner, and also Vicky Pounds, one of my best friends,” says
Diane. “I think everything I’ve done in sport has led to a relationship with someone and a connection. The goals have always been there for me to achieve, but more than anything I competed in the sport with a lot of love and a lot of friendships and that’s what counts.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Proving there is life after international competition, at the America’s Masters Games held in Vancouver in 2016, Cummins - who now lives in Missoula, Montana - helped her relay team win master’s gold and break the 4 x 800m world record for the 40-44 age category.
Over her 15+ year career, Diane has inspired hundreds, if not thousands of future middle distance runners. A true believer in clean sport and an outspoken advocate for equality and accountability, Diane is a genuine role model and mentor to the many middle distance runners who hope to follow in her footsteps.
Over a long career with many highlights, some accomplishments stand out more than others for Diane.
“Obviously the medals, for me, are a highlight. That’s something that proves you worked hard and achieved something, but my highlights through the sport have definitely been more emotional,” she continues. “I remember, in 2002, when I won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, I had no idea where my dad or my family were sitting in the stands. I looked down for a second and looked back up and looked straight at him, one of 40,000 people, and he came down to the track and gave me a hug.
“The highlights for me have been really the connections I’ve made with people. Every single coach I’ve had, I appreciate. Sport has always been a way for me to connect with people.”
SPONSORED BY MANN, MOULSON & CO.