Jim McClements has been involved in almost every facet of speed skating since moving to Saskatoon in 1974 and has grown in prominence as an international referee. He achieved the ultimate goal as a referee at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Jim was born in Lethbridge in 1944, lived part of his early life in Edmonton and then moved with his family to Winnipeg. In early speed skating days, he won his share of medals at provincial, Western Canadian and Canadian championships while competing out of Winnipeg. Jim was a Winnipeg contender who came to skate against Saskatoon stars Craig Mackay, Johnny Sands and Bob Hodges in the National Olympic team trials in 1963.
Jim met Vicki Beall of Saskatoon at a speed skating meet at Red Deer in 1968 and they were married that year. When he was honored earlier in 2002 as an honorary lifetime member of the Saskatoon Lions Club, it was recognition for the coaching he has done since 1974, the officiating and the highly successful summer camps, which he directed from 1981 until 1986. He was also honored by Speed Skate Canada, named official of the year with this presentation, a sign of respect for the work he contributed at national coaching and officiating clinics.
He has been an official since 1966. Jim has been a referee at 12 World Cup or world championship events. One of the unique experiences was officiating at the world single championships held in the M Wave in Nagano, Japan, in 2000.
Jim carried out the flag in February for the opening ceremonies of Canada Cup II and the Canadian junior championships in Saskatoon. Jim and Knut Ludhal of Norway worked the 2002 Olympic Games at Salt Lake City and Jim is one of only 12 in the world that are Level 5 international referees. He has held the designation since 1996.
He has worked with Lyle Sanderson in track and field and cross-country and provided outstanding leadership in integrating Special Olympic athletes into both track and field and speed skating.
He was head coach of the Huskie cross-country team in 1979-80 when they were crowned Canada West Conference champions.
He has also become involved in rowing, as a competitor in the Masters events, in maintaining boats and organizing regattas since 1994.