SASKATOON: The Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame will induct five athletes, two builders, and one team into their family of over-achievers on November 10, and one of those names should be well-known to anyone who knows anything about Canada’s Judo scene.
“I’m honoured, but it takes me a little out of my comfort zone,” said two-time Olympian and Judique-native Amy Cotton, who will be inducted at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax.
“Having to stand up in front of people isn’t for me.”
Cotton represented Canada at both the 2004 and 2012 Olympics, and she competed on the national judo team for 18 years. During that time, she amassed 11 senior national medals and placed seventh at the World Championships in both 2005 and 2009.
Cotton made it to the podium multitple times. She has eight Pan American Championships medals, took bronze at the 2003 Pan American Games, and laid claim to 13 World Cup medals.
As a World Team member for seven years, she competed at a long list of World Cup events and international open tournaments. Cotton also claimed three gold medals and one silver medal at US Open events and was selected as an alternate for Canada’s Olympic team in 2008.
“When I look back at my career, I’m very happy,” she said. “I was very fortunate to have the chance to earn those medals. I’m very happy with my career as an athlete, and I’m very happy to be recognized for it.”
Word that she was being inducted took her by surprise, she said. Now a high-level coach with Judo Saskatchewan, earning a place in Nova Scotia’s Sports Hall of Fame was something that wasn’t on her mind – until the phone rang.
“I was quite surprised when they called,” she said. “I had absolutely no idea this was going to happen. The head of Judo Nova Scotia submitted my name without telling me, and lo’ and behold, I was nominated.
“I got a phone call about a month before nationals. I’m fortunate because it [the induction ceremony] falls on two major competitions for us. I come home on a Friday and then I have to fly out early Saturday morning to coach in Ontario.”
The week before the ceremony, she’ll take her judokas to Quebec for a competition.
On the subject of coaching, Cotton said she’s enjoying the work. She’s a Level III coach, and she’s looking to be certified at Level IV and Level V later this year.
After retiring in August of 2013, she moved back to Judique to be with her mother who passed away in late 2014. From there, Cotton moved to Calgary. The job offer from Judo Saskatchewan came in July of 2015.
“I like it here,” she said. “I have a place about 20 minutes north of Saskatoon. I’m enjoying being a coach, but it’s different than being an athlete. As an athlete, you had to worry about your performance. As a coach, you have to worry about all the kids under you.”
Cotton will be in good company on the night on November 10, as she’ll be inducted alongside athletes Sarah Baker, a multi-Paralympic medalist in swimming, javelin, and wheelchair basketball; Todd King, softball player; Lucy Smith, a standout in running, duathlon, and triathlon; and Colin White, hockey player.
Also being inducted in the builder category are Brad Barton (volleyball) and Mike Kelly (hockey). In the team category, the 1977 Cheema Canoe Team will be inducted.