Marion Lay

Marion Lay

Marion lay
Quick Facts

Club: Covina Aquatics Association
Coach(es): Vince Van Detta

1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Kingston, Jamaica
Gold     110yd freestyle
Gold     4x110yd freestyle relay
1967 Pan American Games
Silver  100m freestyle
Silver 200m freestyle
Silver  4x100m freestyle relay
Silver  4x100m medley relay
1968 Olympic Games, Mexico
Bronze  4x100m freestyle relay

Through the 1960s and 1970s, Canada produced a remarkable number of world-class swimmers and Marion Lay is notable for her contributions to that success. Despite a political squabble concerning her eligibility to compete for Canada, she reigned as Canadian 100m freestyle champion for four straight years from 1964 to 1967 and held the national record in the event for eight years, from 1964 to 1972. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, she finished fifth in 100m freestyle. Four years later in Mexico City, she won a bronze medal as a member of Canada’s 4x100m freestyle relay team and placed fourth in 100m freestyle. Other notable results include gold medals in 110yd freestyle and 4x110yd freestyle relay, the latter in world record time, and the silver medal in 4x110yd medley relay at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. At the 1967 Pan American Games, Lay won four silver medals. Following retirement from competition, she was CBC’s swimming colour commentator until 1973.

Lay is a leading activist in eliminating inequities faced by women in sport. She is a founder of the Canadian Association for Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS); WomenSport International; ProMotion Plus, British Columbia’s organization for girls and women in physical activity and sport; the National Sport Centre Greater Vancouver (Canadian Sport Institute Pacific); and was founding president and chief executive officer of 2010 Legacies Now. She was Sport Canada’s special advisor on gender equity, a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee, and President of Operations for Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour.

Lay was heavily involved with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, serving first as the Chair of the Vancouver 2010 Bid Committee and later as the City of Vancouver representative on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee. She was also President and CEO of the 2010 Legacies Now Society. She is President of Think Sport Ltd., a Vancouver-based sport management and consulting firm specializing in event management, program planning, evaluation, and gender equity education.

Over the years, Lay’s advocacy has not gone unnoticed. Her honours include the 2001 International Olympic Committee’s Women and Sport Trophy for the Americas; the inaugural Carol Anne Letheren International Sport Leadership Award in 2002, acknowledging a Canadian woman who has made an outstanding contribution to international sport leadership; the Order of British Columbia in 2012; the Leadership in Sports Award at the 2001 Canadian Sport Awards; and the 1995 Bryce Taylor Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian sport. Lay was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a Builder in 2012, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum as a Builder in 2005, the BC Swimming Hall of Fame as a Builder in 2003, and the Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada as an athlete in 1972.