RCA mourns the loss of Martin Bielz

Martin Bielz

It is with deep sadness that Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) mourns the loss of Martin Bielz on September 20 in Ottawa, Ontario. Martin was an accomplished Olympian, representing Romania (Rome 1960) and Olympic coach for Canada (Munich 1972). Martin led a very successful professional career, lending his leadership and expertise to several Canadian sport organizations. Martin worked as RCA’s first Technical Director in the early 1970’s, followed by an appointment as the Director of Rowing for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. He went on to serve as the Technical Director for the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Game Plan Program and most recently consulting for the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC).

“When I was Director of Sport Canada in the early 1970’s, I worked with Martin as RCA’s Technical Director for rowing. More personally, he coached Jim Walker and I at the Ottawa Rowing Club prior to us winning the 1972 Olympic trials and later competing at the Munich Olympic Games.” said 1964 Olympic Gold medalist, Roger Jackson. “He was quite unique at that time, having a doctoral degree in sport science combined with the experience of being a national team athlete. The made an enormous contribution to establishing the foundation for rowing’s national team programs. He was a wonderful, intelligent and most interesting person. Jim and I really appreciated his contribution to our rowing and our lives.”

“Martin was an outstanding mentor, one for whom I have the highest respect,” shares Olympic coach and former RCA Executive Director, Alan Roaf. “As a keen but relatively inexperienced coach, I had potential according to Martin and he gave me opportunities to grow and develop under his leadership. He was instrumental in my hiring at RCA as the first full-time coach. I learned so much from Martin. Always encouraging, Martin demonstrated how to lead a team with encouragement and positive feedback, and all of us responded strongly. Those were very happy and productive years.”

Martin is survived by his wife Claire Caloren, his two sons Simon and Christian, his daughter Astrid and his granddaughter Penelope.

The rowing community has truly lost an integral part of the family. The RCA staff and board of directors express our deepest sympathies to Martin’s family, friends and all those affected. 

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday Oct. 21 (2-5pm) at the Ottawa Rowing Club, 10 Lady Grey Dr. K1A 0G8. All are welcome.

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