Farewell to Olympian Jack Varaleau
May 22, 1922 - Nov. 27, 2004
(Source: Ministry of National Defence and the British Columbia Weightlifting Association)On November 27, 2004, Jack Varaleau, a two-time Olympian and a gold medallist at the 1950 Commonwealth Games in Weightlifting, passed away peacefully in Salmon Arm, B.C. at the age of 82. Varaleau had suffered from Alzheimer's and failing health. In the years following the Second World War, the muscle-numbing repetition of lifting heavy weights earned Varaleau, then a young Canadian airman, international recognition.As a flight Sergeant who served in the Canadian military from 1940 to 1969, Varaleau broke the Olympic press record at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, England, ultimately placing sixth. As a member of the Canadian Olympic weightlifting team from 1948 to 1952, he competed at two Olympic Games.Although he did not win gold at an Olympic competition, he captured the British Empire Weightlifting Championship in 1948 and picked up a gold medal at the 1950 British Empire & Commonwealth Games. In 1971, shortly after retiring from the military after 29 years, he was inducted into the Canadian Forces Sports Hall of Fame.
After retiring from the Canadian military (Air Force), Varaleau took on the responsibility of obtaining Government funding to repair and renovate the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, which now goes by the name of the Jack Varaleau Fitness Centre. Varaleau ran many successful weight-training programs for seniors over his 10 years of managing the facility
From former Recspec Alf Johnston - 24 Jan 2009. . . . indoors today as the temp and wind is "BITTER". Keeping myself busy by visiting the PERI site......Last Post section. Came across the name F/Sgt James (Jack) Varaleau. He was a member of the same PTI Course I was on in the RCAF at Trenton, Ont. in 1942......Course # 8. As a matter of fact he was just two beds down from me in our quarters. Never have I seen a man as strong......muscles and then some.....up and down stairs on his hands..........pushups I used to lose count of....WOW! I see by his writeup and obit he was an Olympic champ and to this old "pigeon" I am not the least surprised. I will always remember the morning (real early) when we played a game on him.....lights on....everybody up....etc......Jack took off..towel streamin and headed for the shower. When he returned the lights were off and all were "sleeping"......no one laughed harder than Jack did. Funny how things come to mind! Hope you guys are warm and well........Alf