Good evening ladies and gentlemen…it is indeed a privilege to be part of tonight’s ceremony honouring the 2022 inductees to the PEI Sorts Hall of Fame and to introduce Tom Nicholls this evening. That said, ten years ago the chances seemed distant at best, but more about that later.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Sport of Powerlifting, the three disciplines Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift combine to form one of the purest Strength Sports. And, when it comes to the Sport of Powerlifting on Prince Edward Island, Tom Nicolls is considered the nucleus of the sport from its development to the success of Island athletes on the national and world stage.
Tom was instrumental in the formation of the PEI Powerlifting Club in 1996 and began the journey to tonight’s induction with a career on the competitive platform matched by few, if any in the sport.
Nationally, Tom was undefeated as he captured 15 Canadian Powerlifting titles setting 64 Canadian Records along the way.
Recognized as one of the best athletes in the sport, Tom was selected by his peers as the Canadian Male Powerlifter of the Year in 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2010 followed by his unanimous election to the Canadian Powerlifting Hall of Fame in 2014.
Internationally, Tom is respected worldwide for his competitive edge and game day performances…at both the Commonwealth and Word Championship level.
He is a two- time Commonwealth Champion – 2011 and 2015 – establishing 12 Commonwealth Records in the process. Tom’s 2015 record deadlift of 645 Lb and Total combined lift of 1,700 Lbs still stand today.
Tom’s performances at the World Championships are considered some of the best by a Canadian Strength Athlete. Proudly representing Canada, Tom secured three World Powerlifting Titles in 2003 where he began his World Record setting performances with a 762 Lb deadlift, 2010, and 2015 piling up 8 World Records along the way.
At home and in recognition of Tom’s National and International success and contributions to the sport, he was recognized as the Sport PEI Male Athlete of the Year in 2003, 2005, 2010, and the Masters Athlete of the Year in 2015.
At the beginning, I mentioned that ten years ago the possibility of tonight’s induction was distant at best and tonight is testament to Tom’s dedication and work ethic on many levels.
In May of 2012, Tom was involved in a stock car racing accident suffering life threating brain and physical injuries so severe a priest was summoned to perform Last Rites….doctors gave him little hope for survival let alone recovery. Ever positive, Tom fought or three years enduring session after session of therapy to prove that recovery was possible.
In 2015, three years after the dire medical prognosis, Tom returned to powerlifting winning the World, Commonwealth, and Canadian Championships and, with his best lifts of 606 Lbs in Squat, 442 Lbs in Bench Press, and 645 Ls in Deadlift, set new records at each level.
I saw what Tom went through over those three years and to be here tonight knowing all that still amazes me.
Aside from the athletic achievements, Tom has always dedicated himself to growing the Sport of Powerlifting and supporting the community.
He has always shared both his experience and home gym to anyone interested in powerlifting and has mentored many Island Strength Athletes from humble beginnings along the road to success on the World, Commonwealth, and Canadian Championship stages.
Personally, I can attest to the positive results that Tom’s calm, generous, and supportive approach turned a bunch of kids from Souris Regional High School – coach included – into a crew of well-disciplined Canadian and World Champions / Medalists / Record Setters….from all of them, thank you Tom.
Community involvement has always been one of Tom’s priorities and believing actions speak volumes, he has worked doggedly in that regard.
Tom initiated fundraising drives through his love of stock car racing and, in the process raised funds exceeding 5,000.00 for the QEH Pediatric Unit….12,000.00 for the MS Society….20,000.00 for Kids Sport and partnered with others to create the Team Indy Powerlifting Meets which retuned more than 9,000.00 to local charities.
To conclude, I would like to congratulate all tonight’s inductees and those that came before them for their contributions to sport and our way of life on Prince Edward Island. Often it seems positive role models are hard to find. That said, a look through those honoured here tonight and in the past proves they still exist.
Inducted by coach and friend, Larry LeBlanc