he held a couple of world records in the 1980s for running,
and participated in three Paralympics, Gilles LaFrance
never became a household name.
But now the runner from Sudbury,
Ont., has been inducted into the Greater Sudbury Sports
Hall of Fame.
A ceremony was held Wednesday.
"I was really surprised
because I didn't think it was going to happen for a long
time," LaFrance said about the honour.
LaFrance said he joked with
the hall of fame's organizer, Randy Pascal, that he thought
he would be recognized posthumously because other athletes
were more deserving.
LaFrance has a mild form
of cerebral palsy, but said it feels more natural for
him to run than to walk.
His parents encouraged him
to run in the early 1980s, and by 1982 he was representing
Canada at the World Cerebral Palsy Games in 1982.
"I ended up going there
and I got a gold medal, my very first, in the 200-metre
race," he said. "And then it just continued."
From 1984 to 1992 he had
a good run where he just missed the podium at three Paralympics.
LaFrance finished fourth
at the games in New York City in 1984, fifth at the games
in Seoul in 1988 and fourth again at the 1992 Paralympics
In 1986, between Paralympics,
he broke two world records in a 30-day span.
LaFrance said he still runs
for fun and participates in Sudbury Rocks race every year.
Ringette player Karen Duguay
Bunting, figure skater Jeffrey Buttle and late Sudbury
city councillor Fabio Belli, who helped build the city's
soccer community, were also inducted into the Greater
Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame.