Diane Jones Konihowski (T&F | Student-athlete)
Updated: Jan 27
NAME: Diane Jones Konihowski (Class of 2020-21)
SPORT: Track & field
YEARS ACTIVE: 1969-75
Two-time Olympian (1972 Munich & 1976 Montreal)
Two-time Canadian female athlete of the year (1975 & 1978)
1978 Commonwealth Games champion
Member of the Order of Canada
One of the finest track and field athletes to emerge from the province of Saskatchewan, Diane Jones Konihowski dominated at the University of Saskatchewan during the early 1970s.
A graduate of Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon, Jones Konihowski spent five seasons as a Huskie she helped lead the team to three conference championships (1970, 1971, and 1975), while winning 12 individual gold medals. Her shot put record of 15.56 m set in 1975 stood for 39 years.
In both 1974 and 1975 her excellence was acknowledged on campus, as she took home the Mary Ethel Cartwright Trophy as female athlete of the year at the U of S.
A standout in multiple events, Jones Konihowski took her multifaceted abilities to the highest level during the 1970s, representing Canada internationally. Following her graduation from Saskatchewan she earned gold medals in pentathlon at the 1975 Pan-Am Games in Mexico City, the 1979 Pan-Am Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton.
Her win in Edmonton pushed her to the top of the pentathlon world, as she took over the No. 1 ranking in the world.
In addition to these outstanding performances she also competed at both the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich (10th in pentathlon), and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal (6th pentathlon, 11th long jump). She was also a bronze medalist at the 1973 World Student Games in Moscow.
"My performance in Moscow in 1973 was very important to me because the competition included the same athletes I met in 1972 at my first Olympic Games in Munich (finished 10th), and they were the same athletes I was going to meet in 1976 (at the Olympic Games in Montreal). I won a bronze medal in really tough conditions," Jones Konihowski recalled.
Poised for a shot at the podium in 1980, she was unable to compete at the Summer Games in Moscow due to Canada's boycott. Two weeks after the Games, she defeated all the Olympic medallists at a meet in Germany.
She was one of the few Canadian athletes to speak out publicly against the boycott.
"To this day, I still believe the decision was wrong. Over the years, many people thought I made the right decision. I had a lot of friends in the media, and they were raking me over the coals. I understood where they were coming from, but I never backed down," she said in a 2020 interview.
In 2000 another chapter was written in her Olympic story, as she was chef de mission for Canada at the Sydney Olympics.
Made a member of the Order of Canada in 1978, she was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1980, and is set to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (class of 2020-21).
Written by Evan Daum.