In 1977, Sheila Robertson became the founding editor of Champion magazine, Canada’s first and only magazine for and about high performance athletes. In her five years as editor, Champion developed a strong reputation for investigative journalism, timely and thoughtful athlete profiles, scientific analysis of Games’ results, and much more. Interestingly, many of the topics are as timely today as they were in the late 1970s and 1980s. Champion was housed in the National Sport and Recreation Centre in Ottawa as part of the Game Plan Information Office, led by the late Bill Hersh.
Sheila was the founding editor of and an author for Coaches Report* magazine from 1992 to 2005, and is the founding editor and an author for the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching.*
She is the author of Shattered Hopes: Canada’s Boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games*, a moving oral history of a largely ignored episode in Canadian history. It shines a long overdue spotlight on the athletes and others affected by the boycott. For many, memories of the boycott are painfully clear; for others, the details have faded, but anger and disappointment remain.
She is the editor and an author for Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions from Female Coaches*, an extensive and frank examination by leaders in women’s coaching of the values women bring to the coaching profession; their quest for equal access; ways career aspirations and motherhood are juggled; how to negotiate contracts; and encounters with homophobia, harassment, and bullying.
She was a contributing author to Playing It Forward: 50 Years of Women and Sport in Canada*. Published by the Feminist History Society, the book “contains an inspiring collection of stories from those on the front lines: athletes, coaches, educators, and activists who stuck their necks out to bring about change.”
Other editorial accomplishments include Making the Most of Your Opportunities: A Media Guide for Athletes and Their Coaches; Straight Talk About Children and Sport*; and Reflections on the CFSA: A History of the Canadian Figure Skating Association 1887-1990*. She was an author and editor for Canadian Women Studies: Women and Girls and Sport and Physical Activity*, a Fall 1995 York University Publication.
She is the author of a chapter for Women in Sport Coaching*, published by Routledge, which “illuminates and examines the status of women in coaching, explores the complex issues they face in pursuing their careers, and suggests solutions for eliminating the barriers that impede women in coaching.”
Sheila is the author and editor of numerous publications and manuals for various national sport organizations, has written many profiles of leading Canadian and foreign coaches, and was a regular columnist with Coaches Plan when it was the Coaches of Canada magazine.
A media liaison officer with the communications team of the Canadian Olympic Association (today the Canadian Olympic Committee) at the 1976 Olympics Games and the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, Sheila was also manager of the Canadian Team media office at the 1996 Olympic Games.
She was a delegate for Canada to the 2005 IAPESGW (International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women) Congress and to the 4th IOC (International Olympic Committee) World Conference on Women and Sport in Jordan in 2008.
In 2005, Coaches of Canada established the Sheila Robertson Award, presented annually at Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif. The award recognizes a national sport or multi-sport organization that demonstrates a consistent approach in valuing the recognizing the role of the coach internationally and to the media and the public.
In 1992, Sheila received the Centennial Medal and in 1995, the Canadian Sport Award for Communications. In 2010, she was named one of the Top 20 Most Influential Women in Sport and in 2011 received the CAAWS Marion Lay Herstorical Breakthrough Award, which recognizes an individual, group, or organization whose distinct contribution exceeds 10 years and has influenced and/or broken down barriers to equal participation for girls and women in sport.
*For more information, see Sheila’s Books, Journals, and Magazines.