Beat the Streets Toronto would like to take a moment and celebrate the extraordinary life of Glynn Leyshon: husband, father, Olympic Wrestling Coach, professor, author, singer, wood carver, raconteur…
“It's not the size of the dog in the fight,
it's the size of the fight in the dog!”
Dr. Leyshon's extraordinary life work fortunately included the sport of wrestling. His dedication and commitment helped shape wrestling in Ontario and Canada as we know it today.
Born in Hamilton on August 2, 1929, Glynn turned a passion for wrestling at Western University into a remarkable journey that took him around the world in a pursuit of excellence on the mat.
As a student Glynn was the captain of the U.W.O. wrestling team and was a Canadian Champion in 1952. Consecutive Ontario-Quebec university championships in 1953 and 1954 were the first stops in his wrestling career. He also played football for the Purple and White.
In 1964 Glynn began teaching at the University of Western Ontario, as well as coaching football and wrestling. Glynn became a tenured professor shortly thereafter and taught anatomy and kinesiology at Western until his retirement in 1996. He also served time as Western’s Athletic Director and Assistant Dean of Kinesiology.
Glynn was also the de facto founder and president for life of the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association and one of the original founders of the London Amateur Wrestling club.
Always an organizer, Glynn was an innovator and a founder of high school wrestling in Ontario and a pioneer in establishing rules and guidelines, organizing the first OFSAA championships. He was also a founder of the highly successful London-Western Wrestling Club which has produced a long list of Olympic and World championship competitors over the years.
As Western’s wrestling coach from 1964 through 1980 Glynn’s teams won eight league titles and in 1974 he was named Canadian university coach of the year.
As his reputation as a coach and developer of talent grew so did appointments as an international coach and team builder. He coached the Canadian team in four World tournaments, two world university games, the 1979 Pan-American Games and the 1980 Olympics. He had been named coach of the Olympic team in 1976 but a bureaucratic snafu resulted in him being ineligible and he became a commentator for CBC Television.
Glynn was also a respected referee in various levels from high school, university, YMCA and amateur tournaments and was the co-founder of the Ontario Wrestling Officials Association.
Throughout his career Glynn made notes and gathered anecdotes as his travels took him around the world. Much of the information he put into five books that read like a “who’s who” of amateur wrestling.
To learn more about his life's journey and achievements, please visit:
In honour of the impact he had upon so many lives and the sport of wrestling, John Park, founder of BTST and former athlete of Dr. Leyshon, shares the speech and poetry he used to celebrate this incredible coach and friend at a celebration of his life on January 5, 2019 at Western University.
My name is John Park and I only spent two years at Western wrestling for the mustangs.
But these years changed my life. Since then, we frequently received a Christmas poem from Glynn chronicling a year in a life of the Leyshon Family. This poem was highly anticipated and entertaining.
This year we feel the absence of that poem deeply.
The mark of a great coach is to find the spark in each person, and instill a sense of belief that one can tackle anything. It is the willingness to try, not the end result that is the mark of a warrior.
In honor of this lesson and Glynn, I would like to read my first ever poem, and yes most certainly challenging my personal boundaries.
Celebration of Life Gallery
Photos by Thomas Kim, UWO Alumni