As part of Central Technical School’s (CTS) African Heritage Month assembly on February 15, the school and the CTS Alumni Association, with the support of the Ontario Black History Society, proudly announced the naming of the pathway in front of the school “Sam Richardson Way.”
Richardson lived on Lippincott Street and attended local public schools, including Central Tech. He was among the first Central Tech-trained athletes to compete at the Olympics and British Commonwealth Games. The first African-Canadian Olympian from Central Tech, Richardson represented Canada in Track and Field at the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany. Among other events, he raced as part of the 4 x 100-metre relay team, finishing fifth. He ran against the famed American athlete Jesse Owens, who later became a friend and mentor. “The fact that he competed in Germany when Hitler was in power, it’s just really inspirational that he had the courage to do that,” said great-granddaughter Jaylen Smith-Williams.
“He’s a pretty courageous guy,” added CTS student-athlete Asia Hogan.Richardson also competed at the British Empire School Boy Games, in Australia, and the British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games), in England, in 1934.
“Central Technical School has a rich history of students, faculty and alumni competing in Olympic Games,” said CTS Vice-Principal Daniel Lee. “Sam Richardson’s success on the track helped pave the way for future student-athletes [like] Michael Smith, Atlee Mahorn, and Charity Williams.”
Richardson’s family was on hand to join Central Tech staff, students, alumni, and other guests at the unveiling and for the assembly, which also included numerous student performances and speakers. Son Stacey Richardson said it was a fitting way to honour his father. “It was in this school and on this field where he practised until he was perfect,” he said.