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A heavyweight advocate for youth sports

Ralph Sneyd wrote the book on wrestling.

Ralph Sneyd wrote the book on wrestling. Quite literally, he authored three Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) rule books for wrestling. He’s adding to a host of awards and recognition for his work in youth athletics this weekend, when he is inducted into the Black and Gold Society as a builder.

The Black and Gold Society started in 1998 – Sneyd was one of the founders – as a way to recognize graduates who had exceptional high school athletic careers and went on to achieve great things in sports after high school. The society also honours those who have worked to pioneer and build Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) athletics in their careers as athletes, coaches, and teachers at CCI.

Sneyd brought wrestling to CCI and coached for 31 years. He helped students win 14 Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) team championships, 42 individual championships, 21 OFSAA medals, 32 Canadian Championships, and four world medals.

Sneyd also introduced the Simcoe County wrestling program and the Ontario Women’s Wrestling program. He established the “silent tournament format,” which is now used around the world. Sneyd was a member of the Sport Advisory Committee for OFSAA for 22 years, on the executive for Ontario Wrestling for 28 years, wrote three OFSAA rule books, established the Ontario Draw-Masters Association, hosted 178 tournaments – including the world championships in 1987 in Collingwood. 

Sneyd was the first-ever recipient of the OFSAA Leadership in Sport award, and he also received the FILA Gold Start (wrestling’s highest international award), and was inducted into the Collingwood and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

While at CCI, Sneyd taught history. He was the founding chair of the Federation of Collingwood Sports, a charter member and president of the Collingwood Optimist Club, helped organize community dinners at Trinity United Church and ran federal elections as the returning officer for Simcoe-Grey. All while being a grandpa to his nine grandchildren.

Sneyd, two other builders, and 11 athletes will be inducted into the Black and Gold Society during a ceremony on Sept. 21 as part of the CCI 160th anniversary reunion.