SSHoF logoIrene Kokotailo

Athlete (1998)

Multiple Sports

Irene KokotailoIrene has become one of Canada's most versatile athletes, having competed in nine organized sports, reaching a national level of performance in eight of them, and going to an international level in four of them.

Irene was born in Saskatoon in 1957, lived her early years in Sandwith and Macrorie before moving to Saskatoon when he was 12 years old. She was participating and winning at speed skating as early as 1970. In a seven-year period with the Lions club, she held Saskatchewan records in 16 events and held the Canadian record for intermediate women's 800 metres in 1975. She won a number of Saskatchewan age class championships, including the senior women's title three times, won the Canadian senior 1,000 metres in 1975 and won three silver medals and a bronze in appearances at the North American championships in 1975 and 1976.

Irene played on five University of Saskatchewan teams and five provincial teams in field hockey, 1976 through 1980. She was the first Saskatchewan player selected to the national team and twice had to withdraw because of injuries.

In softball, she won a Canadian junior bronze medal in 1975 and silver in 1976 while playing for Lashburn Bluebirds, and later, joined the senior Bluebirds when they won silver at the 1982 nationals. She also caught for Saskatoon Bar K, who won a silver medal at the 1978 Canadian junior finals and she had the highest batting average and was voted all-star catcher at the tournament in Newfoundland.

Irene played broomball as well, twice winning bronze medals with Bar K at the nationals, a silver with Regina at the nationals and has been voted into the Saskatchewan broomball hall of fame. By 1990, she turned to track where she ran in international marathons in Chicago and Pittsburgh and a hip stress fracture prevented her bid in the Canadian Olympic marathon trials in 1992. She was attracted to mountain bike racing and competed for Canada in the triathlon, a swim-bike-and running event; and the duathlon, a run-bike-run event. She raced in both cross-country and downhill events. A Canadian champion, Irene also wore Canadian colors to world championship meets in Quebec, France and Colorado. She was fifth in the world's veteran class at Metabief, France, in 1993.