Bishop Dolegiewicz dies at 55; strong friend to many

Bishop Dolegiewicz: One of world’s strongest men

Al Oerter has another friend in Heaven. Zbigniew “Bishop” Dolegiewicz, a two-time Canadian Olympian (1976 discus and 1984 shot) died Tuesday night at the age of 55, according to an email sent to many in the throws community, including masters thrower Tom Fahey. “Sorry for being the bearer of sad news,” the writer said. “I just got off the phone with Rich Marks where he was informed by Jim McGoldrick that Big Bishop Dolegiewicz passed away last night in his sleep. Bish was 55 years old and has been in poor health the past few years. May we all stay in good health.” Our condolences to his family and friends, especially his young thrower wife Anna.

A post on the Track & Field News message board added:

Bishop Dolegiewicz, former Candian Record Holder in the shotput and Olympian, died yesterday in Utah. He has been in poor health for the past few years suffering from cardio and circulation problems. He briefly attended the University of Texas in the early 70’s. Bish was only 56 and will be missed by many in the throwing world.

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October 30, 2008

32 Responses

  1. Jimson Lee - October 30, 2008

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bishop and his family.
    We hosted a Strength & Power conference in Vancouver a few years ago and he was one of the selected speakers.
    He will be missed.

  2. Jim Griffin - October 30, 2008

    I remember Bishop from when he was about 14 or 15 years old and competing at a high school meet in Kitchener. He was big even then! And he got bigger! He also had a big heart and was always glad to see friends – and he had many. I officiate the throws and worked many meets that Bishop entered.
    Many memories of great performances – the time Bishop competed against Oerter at a meet in Scarborough – I have a photo of the group and even though I am big, I felt dwarfed by these big guys. I also remember talking with Bishop after he tore his achilles tendon at Brisbane in ’82 when he still pulled off a bronze medal in the discus.
    Incredible that he is gone.
    All my sympathy to his family and especially Anna.

  3. John Craig - October 30, 2008

    I was at University of Texas for 4 years with Bishop and traveled Europe as a team-mate on several occasions. Some of my favourite stories involve him and I laugh when I think of him. He was a friend, and a comrade in arms and a decent human being with a bigger than life attitude.
    This is very sad.

  4. Thomas Fahey - October 30, 2008

    Bishop was the strongest thrower I ever saw (800 pound squat in a contest). He was a great guy with a tremendous sense of humor.

  5. Raymond Seguin - October 30, 2008

    I vividly remember a behemoth of a man — but also a teddy bear, personality-wise — named Bishop. he spoke at the Legion Nationals camp in Sudbury in 1986. I’d won the juvenile high jump, and he spoke to all of us about the dangers of steroids. I remember him hanging around us while we went through various drills, being such a positive influence on us kids the entire time. His image will live on forever in my mind as a larger-than-life hero. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
    Ray Seguin

  6. Rob Gray - October 30, 2008

    I will raise a few beers to his memory tonight.I first met him the summer before he went to Texas when I was 14 year old kid in love with throwing a plate. Little did I know that I would end up spending considerable time with him over the next 15 years training,competing, partying and seeing the world together on the Canadian team .
    He was a role model for young Canadian throwers as he showed us that we could compete with the best in the world and he helped many of us to reach our goals.
    We called him the “Big One” as he was the biggest and the strongest of us all and I have a lot of great memories of the crazy times we had back then.
    I will never forget when he tore that achilles in Brisbane as the sound was like a gun shot and I had to pick him up from the ring .
    Amazingly he had the team trainers put a cast on his leg and tried warming up for the shot put the next day.
    I am sure he is having a beer with Robin Tait from New Zealand and Al Oerter (GOAT) in what ever place broken down old throwers get to go to party when they die .
    Athletics Canada may have tried to wipe out his achievements but I for one won’t forget that he threw 20.83m SP and 65.32 DT which I suspect is still one of the better doubles of all time.
    He will live on in my memories always as a great guy, training partner and competitor .
    May he rest in peace till Mike Mercer, Jack Harkness and I catch up to him and crack open a few cold ones with him and start telling stories about the good old days and start to laugh.
    Rob Gray

  7. Anna Dolegiewicz - October 31, 2008

    Thank you for sharing your memories of Bish with me. I will read your posts and display them tomorrow at his funeral service. Please email me any other stories you wish to share as I will also put them on display for others to share the memory.
    I want to let you all know how much I love Bish. He was the light of my life. I constantly bragged to strangers about the achievements of my husband. Although there is a 25 year age difference between us it never mattered. We had fun together on the throwing field and in the weight room.
    Bish loved to tell stories from the “days of the dinosaurs” as he would say! They were truly the best times of his life that he shared with you all. Its great to hear some of you tell the stories. Many of your names I know from the many stories Bish would tell.
    We would like to have a wake for Bish. Would any of you be interested in an early December Wake. It would be great to get you all together in his honor. Many have stated that California would be a good place for such occasion. Please email me on dates and locations that would work for you all.
    Anna Dolegiewicz – Bishs wife

  8. Anna Dolegiewicz - October 31, 2008

    Zbigniew Bishop Dolegiewicz passed away October 29, 2008 at the age of 55. Bish was born on July 8, 1953 to Edward and Maria Dolegiewicz in Toronto, Canada. He married Anna Christina Bullock July 13, 2001. She was the love of his life.
    As a 3-time Olympic Track and Field athlete, and World’s Strongest Man Competitor, Bishop Dolegiewicz successfully competed at international levels and coached athletes and teams to both national and international levels.
    Bish is most recognized as a National Coach with Canada’s Olympic Track and Field team having created the strength and conditioning programs for the Canadian Sprints and Throws Teams as well as coaching the throwers technically, and having coached some of the best athletes in the world. Most recently, Bish was coaching at Utah Valley University with his wife. He said that he would coach until he died and was coaching on his last day.
    Bish is survived by his wife Anna, his father and mother, and his brother and sister-in-law, Richard Dole and Wanda Dorosz. Bish always put others first. He helped so many through his teachings. Bish always said that he would be wearing the white hat and that he would always be fighting for good. He is loved by many and will never be forgotten.
    Funeral services will be held on Saturday November 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm in the Sego Lilly LDS Chapel at 900 North 700 East, Lehi, UT. Family and friends may call Saturday at 12:00 noon till time of service at the church.
    In lieu of flowers, please make charitable donations to Bish Strength at the Bank of American Fork, 712 East Main Street, Lehi, UT, 84043, account # 4121729, which will be used to help young track and field athletes achieve their Olympic dreams. Tax receipts will follow as soon as possible.
    Bishop Dolegiewicz
    As a 3- time Olympic Track and Field athlete, and World’s Strongest Man Competitor Bishop Dolegiewicz has successfully competed at international levels and has coached athletes and teams to both national and international levels. Bish was named the National Strength and Conditioning Professional Coach of the Year for NCAA -D1A Athletics for the Independent in 1998 while at Southern Utah University. As a coach, he was a recipient of the Longines Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award for having coached an athlete or team to a medal winning performance in a World Championship, Olympic Games or the equivalent.
    Bish was always ranked in the top 10 in the world and is currently ranked 13th on the All-Time World’s Best Throws List for shot put and discus combined. He has also been ranked as being number 1 in the world in all 4 throwing events combined. Shot, Discus, Hammer, and Javelin. His best shot put distance discus . As an athlete these were his best lifts. Bench press competition squat power clean- dead lift overhead push press. Bish was considered to be one of the strongest men in the world.
    Bish is most recognized as a National Coach with Canada’s Olympic Track and Field team having created the strength and conditioning programs for the Canadian Sprints and Throws Teams as well as coaching the throwers technically, and having coached some of the best athletes in the world. Bish also coached 2 American Record holders, and 5 NCAA champions. Among these athletes is the smallest man to throw the furthest distance in the shot put, Mike Spirotoso, who at the height of 5’9.5” and 237 lbs. threw the shot 68’1”.
    Bish also worked as Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Texas at Austin. During the time Bish was coaching at the University of Texas his team was considered to be one of the strongest teams, if not the strongest in D1-A football. The last year that Bish coached there the football team went 11-0, and set a record for the number of seniors that were drafted into the NFL.
    International and University Awards:
    • Member of 3 Olympic Teams 1976,1980, and 1984
    • World University Games in Rome: 1975- Gold
    • Pan American Games: 1975 & 1979- Silver
    • Commonwealth Games: 1978 & 1982 Bronze
    • Worlds Strongest Man Competition: 1980 and 1981
    • Canadian National Record Holder- Shot Put
    • Former Commonwealth and National Record Holder- Discus
    • Outstanding Canadian Field Athlete- 1975
    • Four Time All American in Track and Field at the University of Texas at Austin
    • National Collegiate Record Holder in Power Lifting

  9. Malcolm Balk - November 1, 2008

    I am very sad to hear Bishop died this week. I remember him training down in old Montreal at the first Nautilus gym back in the late 70’s. I was really impressed by his physique (being a skinny marathoner) and was in some awe to learn he had apparently just ‘slimmed down’ to 280 from over 300lbs…he was an inspiration to everyone there…

  10. Malcolm Balk - November 1, 2008

    I am very sad to hear Bishop died this week. I remember him training down in old Montreal at the first Nautilus gym back in the late 70’s. I was really impressed by his physique (being a skinny marathoner) and was in some awe to learn he had apparently just ‘slimmed down’ to 280 from over 300lbs…he was an inspiration to everyone there…

  11. Anna Dolegiewicz - November 1, 2008

    As Bish’s wife I thought it would be appropriate to post this for all. Here is my rough draft for the service today.
    Well, It would be like me if I didn’t brag about my husband and his accomplishments. And part of that was me bragging about his athletes who he coached. And Nicole, the young lady who just spoke hates it when I do this but Bish was able to get her to bench 250 lbs. before she graduated high school and just this Monday she tied my squat max and ( I’m talking parallel to the thy here), she did 375 in the squat for for 1 rep.
    From the day I went to College at SUU I started bragging about Bish. I told perfect strangers in elevators about my coach L Jay Silvester (a former world record holder in the discus) and now it was time to brag about Bish. I still do that to this day. I don’t think there is much of a day that goes by that I don’t whip out my cell phone and start showing strangers pictures of Bish and tell of his accomplishments which include several athletes that he coached.
    Bish was my college coach when I attended SUU. And I always thought to myself that I wanted to find a like my Dad, and like coach Bish. Well the others never measured up to Bish and one day the light clicked on for me and that’s when I realized I was in love. So basically I picked Bish and we started dating when he left the university and moved up to Draper.
    I followed Bish around like a little puppy when I was in college. He like so many other athletes was a father figure to me. Any where Bish was, weather it was the weight room or just to ride on his van during a track trip, you bet I was gonna be tailing along. Along with Dave Forsberg another athlete. Its not just me that looked up to Bish this way. There were several athletes during the time I knew Bish that ended up coming over to our home, just to hang with the “old man” as Troy Ford (Fluffy) would say. Fluffy is his nickname and if you have not noticed yet, for those who are not throwers we tend to be rather large humans. Bish said that Fluffy fell from the sky and hatched. He was a genetic mutant. When Bish started training Carlos Valle , Colin Boevers and Nicole Knighton it wasn’t long before we had frequent guests coming to pal around with Bish as if he was one of their high school buddies. There were several others that Bish took under his wing and many who looked to him as another father.
    Another young man that sticks out is John Lipsey, a blind boy who attended Juan Diego Catholic high school. John was in bishs PE class and when he would get the basketball it would not be long before it would be down to the other side of the room rolling away. Bish realized that weightlifting would be better than PE for John and took him after school on a personal level teaching him how to weightlift. And of course because it was Bish, John was very successful in the weightroom like all the others. This is what Bish was all about, he helped so many. If someone asked for his help, he just couldn’t turn them down, and he helped many.
    As Ray Seguin stated on a online blog recently. “ I vividly remember a behemoth of a man—but also a teddy bear, personality – wise. I remember him hanging around us kids, being such a positive influence on us the entire time” As Doug Reynolds also stated “ As an athlete he was a legendary specimen, and as a coach he influence the development of countless young people both on and off the field. “ The kids grew to love Bish so much that they became walking little Bishops quoting phrases word for word that Bish would say to them. Colin Boevers , just yesterday was talking about what we call Bish phrases. And he quoted one of his favorite sayings which is “ When in doubt, power out!” The Bish sayings were always of good humor of course, talking about making sure you ate a good size portion of meat the evening before a throws competition. So as to not upset the “Throwing Gods “ and be Cursed . And as Bish would say “ May the throwing Gods be with you” .
    Bish not only taught the kids about life but about how to compete and as Rob Grey one of his former Athletes who he groomed to become a great Canadian Olympic athlete said. “ He was a role model for young Canadian throwers as he showed us that we could compete with the best in the world and he helped many of us to reach our goals.” I specifically remember Bish talking about how when he was younger his idol was L Jay Silvester (who by the way was very generous helping me as he was one of my coaches before Bish). Bish had a list of everyone who was better than him , and at the top of the list was L Jay. L Jay (former world record holder) was a pioneer in the Discus, being the first man to throw 200, 210 and 220 in the discus . And Bish would cross off the people on that list as he would beat them. And he ended up crossing off everyone on his list including his idol.
    It was not only kids that Bish had an influence on. Eric Houle coached with Bish at SUU and became one of Bishs best friends. “ Eric said that Bish was the greatest man he ever knew. He was all about being loyal and true and honor.” And I also have to thank Eric for helping out Bish during his time at SUU. Eric was a rock and shoulder for Bish and he ended up saving Bishs life when Bish got into a situation were he was in such emotional need.
    I have many stories who I tell again to perfect strangers on a regular basis about my husband. One of them was the time that he was working as a bouncer in a bar in Texas while going to college. A bar goer was well….. lets just say … not being such a nice fellow. So picked picked up his cargo/plano van and tipped it over on its side. Looked at the fellow and said “Pick it up Asshole “.
    Another fond memory of mine was when Bish was in a bar and one of his University of Texas friends came over to say hello. He was an All-American Football player, and ended up going on to play pro and, weighing in at around 290. Bish decided h e would have a little fun with him, and cheerfully picked up and pressed him in the air. He of course was blown away at this and got scared moving his legs in running fashion before Bish let him to the ground. He took off and got in his car, so Bish of course followed. Bish picked up the back end of his car, and side stepped the car on to the grass while he was spinning his wheels.
    I don’t want you thinking Bish was a bully or anything… unless it came to the bullies. But of course there was the wild college days! Bish said he was bully of bullies. And that he hated bullies. He ended up making friends with all the geeks who seeked him out for protection. And when a hot shot football player picked on one of his friends one day, Bish walked into the football players room, looked around , picked up one of his t-shirts and said. I think I will wear this and walked out. It took about a week later for the football player to come skurring up to Bish kindly asking if he could possibly have his shirt back “Mr. Bish” !
    Bishs best friend at the University of Texas was Bob Workman (who you heard speak earlier), Bobs show name was Atomic Llama, and Bish was Son of Atomic Llama. And where ever they went causing mistcheif they would make their mark by writing Atomic Llama and SOAL (son of atomic llama.)
    The word spread fast about my husbands passing. And many of his friends started posting memories of Bish on internet blogs. I was able to pull up some of those statements. Brad Reid said “ Bishop needed a lift back after a track meet. I said “hop in” so he got into the back seat behind my drivers’ seat and the rear springs on my Ford LTD literally bottomed out. He was absolutely huge… at the time, he was sort of a Baby Huey looking kid with a boy’s face… I guess 6’5’’ or 6’6’’ and about 325 lbs. , give or take a large pizza.
    Another stated “He was an imposing physical presence. I remember a Bench Press completion at Al Feuerbach’s house ( Al, who is considered to be one of the greatest American shot putters of All time) that got started with out Bish. He walked in and there was about 450 on the bar. He said “How come you guys didn’t tell me you were starting?” Someone said, “We’re not unloading the bar. Bish jumped in and rattled off 15 reps with the plates clanging and the bar bending. All in attendance were in awe.
    Doug Renyolds stated “ I hae a picture of Brian Crouser, Matt Mileham, and Mac Wilkins, with Bishop having his back turned to the camera with his arms folded. His back basically dwarfs the other 3 men combined, making them look like junior higher in comparison. ( Just so you all know, these men were also considered to be very large as Mac Wilkins is a former world record holder in the Discus).
    Rob Grey was one of the athletes who Bish coached to become a Canadian Olympic Discus thrower. He said “I will raise a few beers to his memory tonight. I first met him the summer before he went to Texas when I was a 14 year old kid in love with throwing a plate. Little did I know that I would end up spending considerable time with him over the next 15 years training, competition, and partying and seeing the world together on the Canadian team. We called him the “Big One” as he was the biggest and the strongest of us all and I have a lot of great memories of the crazy times we had back then.
    “I will never forget when he tore that Achilles tendon is Brisbane as the sound was like a gun shot and I had to pick him up from the ring.” Bish ended up taking a Bronze in the discus that day after that tear. “And amazingly he had the team trainers put a cast on his leg and tried warming up for the shot put the next day. “
    Bish had a high pain tolerance and when he was in the Worlds Strongest Man Competition he ended up tearing 2 heads of his deltoid and part of his trapezius, he went on to finish the competition having 4 events left and he still took 4th place. About 6 months later one of his athletes said… “Gee, Coach you look strange, and when Bish finally went to the doctor about it he said that physically he should have not been able to make the motion to even throw the shot put. The doctor then asked him, how far he threw in his last competition and Bish said 67’10’’ which was considered about top 5 in the world at the time. The doctor said we are not going to do anything and ended up using him in medical journals and speaking about how athletes compete when it seems impossible. That was the same time when the doc had the x rays and came back and asked” Are you in pain? Bish said No, why? Well because you have 3 fractured vertebrae in your back. The doctor figured that Bish had so much muscle holding everything in place that Bish didn’t even notice.
    Bish also ended up breaking his hip and of course didn’t do anything about it. He ended up need a hip replacement later in life which eventually led to a series of medical problems for Bish. Bish gave his life to me. When Bish was severely hemorrhaging from a bleed out into both of his legs he refused to stop because we just had to get to a track meet. And although I begged and pleaded Bish felt it was important that I compete at my first national championship that I had qualified for in 2005. Because of that bleed he ended up having severe pain in his legs, so severe to the touch of fabric and that eventually was what lead to his downhill. Although Bish was in so much pain, he still gave everything he had to me . He supported me and helped me as I was learning to coach. He said that he would coach until he died. And that he did. He was so happy the last few days out coaching, he was having so much fun with his athletes.
    Bish I love you with all my heart. You are my soul mate and as we always promised each other we would be together forever.

  12. Rudy Boghina - November 1, 2008

    Where have the years gone? It’s been 40 years since I first met Bishop when he was 15; a huge, slightly awkward, and slightly goofy but absolutely lovable guy. Despite his size, he could barely bench press 150 lbs. Of course, that didn’t last long as he took to weightlifting like…I was going to say “like a duck to water”, but maybe “like a submarine takes to water” would be more appropriate.
    I was 18 at the time, brash and abrasive, and I remembering tormenting Bishop endlessly about his weight and awkwardness, all the while never dreaming that he would blossom into the fine thrower he eventually became. Some years later, I met him at an all-comers meet at Birchmount Park and while we reminisced, I mentioned that all the abuse I threw at him years before was really in good fun, if a little rough at times. Quite contrary to being angry about it, he actually thanked me, saying that the harassment helped to spur him on in his training and drive to improve! With his typical good humour and quiet determination – yes, really was a quiet kind of guy when he was a teenager – Bishop adopted a sort of “I’ll show you guys” attitude. The rest, as they say, is history.
    A fond memory I have is of Bishop, me, and two other throwers traveling to Ottawa from Toronto, circa 1968 in a beat up old Beetle. At 6’1″, 220 lbs, I was the smallest one in the car and shared the back seat with Bish. We all had to carry our luggage in the car, and for the several hours it took that poor old
    Beetle to haul our asses up to Ottawa and survive to return a couple of days later, Bish and I had a farting contest and nearly sickened the other two guys in the car. Bishop was more than just a great thrower. Let’s just say I lost that contest :-^)
    Although I only saw Bishop a very few times after our high school days, I often thought and talked about him whenever the conversation with others turned to track & field, and I followed his career via various other mutual friends and other news sources.
    Bishop’s premature death saddened me even more because I can relate to his cardiac problems, having struggled with serious cardiovascular disease for the last 10 years or so. But while I mourn his passing, I also consider him an incredibly lucky and blessed guy. He accomplished a great deal in his life and was surrounded by friends and family who loved and respected him, and his wife , Anna, who clearly adores the big lug. Anna, if you should happen to read this, always remember that there are more of us out there that knew and loved Bish than you will ever know. May his light and spirit sustain you forever.
    Rudy Boghina

  13. Layne & Chandice Richards - November 1, 2008

    Bish coached both of us while we were at Southern Utah University. He was the best coach we ever had! We owe him so much. Anna–we will keep you in our prayers. We will carry his legacy by teaching our 3 sons to get strong, eat lots of protein, lift, laugh, lift, and eat more protein. Keep throwin’ far!!

  14. Ain Roost - November 2, 2008

    Hey Bish,
    I got the sad news today from Mike Mercer and I see that a growing number of people in our circle of throwers around the world have gotten the word that you are no longer with us. Well, in fact as I think about it, you really are, and you always will be. The heart has it’s own time space continuum. Among our group you were always a special one. One of the biggest and strongest among us, you had a heart and a sense of humor to match. Things were always more fun when you were a part of the group.
    We spent many days and weeks together over the years, training, competing, traveling, hanging out and partying all over the world. Those were really good times. You were a good friend and an honored teammate and competitor. You and I had many close competitions over those years and you were always gracious in victory as well as in defeat and it never affected our friendship one way or the other.
    I remember on one of our European tours in 1974 we started our own little club when we were in Warsaw. We called it St.Alfonzo’s Pyrocosmic Dragons. The requirement for initiation was the rather challenging task of breathing fire. Not everyone could do it, try as they might. You were one of the founding members of this group which eventually grew to include pretty much all of the throwers on the Canadian Team at the time as well as athletes from other events and countries. The last night we were in Poland I remember we decided to pull a prank on someone you knew on the Polish team. Several of us picked up his small car and deposited it on the veranda of the house in front of which it was parked. My only regret is that we weren’t around to see the look on his face when he went out and found his car the next day. It probably gave some of the Polish throwers a good workout moving it back.
    Later on that six-week tour we were in Athens for a Canada vs Greece track meet. After the competition was over the Canadian Team had a big barbeque up in the mountains above Athens. I remember putting on a rather ridiculous Frank Zappa song that we had sort of named our little club after–St.Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast. Since this was Greece and we were in high spirits and celebrating you and I and some other throwers got up and started dancing to the music. It was our own particular version of dancing, sort of a combination of Zorba the Greek and a happy feet dance like Snoopy and Steve Martin used to do. In the process we made a lot of noise and kicked up a big cloud of dust. It wasn’t long before we were joined by the rest of the team and the party was on.
    You were always a fun companion to celebrate being alive with, always willing to go the extra mile (or kilometre as the case may be). You were a good friend to a lot of people and a lot of people loved you. Thank you for being a part of our lives. You will be sorely missed.
    With love,
    Ain Roost

  15. Karen Wilkinson - November 3, 2008

    I am only 16 years of age and Bish coached me…he told me every day at practice how good i was doing. Its amazing to me that a 3 time olympion would take his time to coach me, and help me personaly improve myself and my new talent. I never would have thought that i would be a thrower but after Bish coached me there was no question. Sure Bish was an amazing athelete but he was a great person, he loved his sport and he wanted everyone else to love it as much as he did. I grew to love the sport and because i will always love the sport because of the wonderful man that tought me how to play it, Bishop Dolegiewicz! I grew to love the man, anyone who ever knew him grew to love him. when i heard the news that he had passed away i was just so shocked that it was possible for him to not be with us anymore. I know for a fact that he loved his wife anna emensly and for that he should be praised. Anna is an amazing girl, i love her so much and im terribly sorry for his passing. Lets celebrate his life and live on the best we can and be more like Bish!!!!
    Love always:
    Karen Wilkinson

  16. Yolanda Sternberg ( "Yo" ) - November 3, 2008

    I am not sure how long I will last before crying again as I hear of the passing of Bish.
    Bish was my mentor, father figure, hero , coach and friend. I met Bish at a meet many Canadian throwers will remember : Legend of the Plains in Winnipeg MN in the late 80’s and convinced me to leave home and move to Saskatchewan. He was someone who made you **BELIEVE** in the power of throwing – who helped you find things in yourself that you never knew you had – he once called me a diamond in the rough – he was a master jeweller that could bring the absolute best out of each person that he touched.
    As a coach today I try to remember all the wonderful things he taught me – to be BIG and be proud – to make the most of the time you have with people and that everyone is worthy of your time and will have something worthy to offer you – that you can teach anyone to throw & teach them to love it too.
    My dearest Anna although I have never met you I send you my deepest condolences and prayers. I know that Bish is living it up to the fullest wherever the old guys go. I will continue to keep the precious memories he gave me in the few years that I had the honest priveledge of knowing him. His influence was so wide – sad that his heart gave out for it was truly his greatest gift to all who knew him – his generosity and spirit knew no bounds.
    I know once the tears have dried I will begin to smile with all the wonderful memories that I have of this great man.

  17. Kathy Hamilton - November 3, 2008

    First, I’ll tell you a little secret; then I’ll tell you an epic story filled with passion, grandness, love, adventure, pathos, hardship, longing, and joy that is the stuff of epic tales and motion pictures.
    My secret begins with the very first time I met Bishop as a 5’8,” 125 pound, 18 year-old, wild and green heptathlete who’d just signed a 4-year athletic contract with Cal. Introduced to Bish in 1980 at the Modesto Relays by my (now 30 years) best friend, Gale Zaphiropolous, I fell “crush” hard for him. He was brutally handsome, blocked out the noon-high central valley sun, painfully shy, crazy wild hair, infectiously happy & childish, and “my best friend’s boyfriend.” Doh!!!!
    My 5’11” high jumper’s thighs went weak every time I saw him throw, and I assure you I was not alone. But the look in his eyes for his love of Gale said it all. I’ve never told either of them this, because the adventure to follow was worth the price of my silence and soon after Bishop introduced me to someone that changed the course of my life forever.
    The adventure began with meeting the love of my (then) life, Jack Harkness, 1980 Canadian National discus champion, through Bishop. Representing Canada, they both were returning from the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand, with a short stop-over at UC Berkeley where Gale and I were attending school and members of the women’s track & field team. Soon we were a four-some, couple-some?; training and socializing together. After mutual whirlwind romances throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, each couple set off to make history, literally; Gale Zaphiropolous-Dolegiewicz (whew!) and Bish left for Austin, Texas, while I forfeited my four-year scholarship to be with Jack in Clemson, South Carolina (with a quick stop in Toronto, Canada).
    Bish trained and attended school in Austin, Texas, graduating with a Master’s in Education, after which they moved to Quebec, took French lessons as they worked and trained in the local community (She managed a Domino’s Pizza and he coached). Gale made the women’s Canadian team and Bish was a throws coach. Bish continued to be “the Big Ship” teaching, coaching, mentoring, guiding, and most notably “experimenting.” The later being stuff of legends and not subject matter for this writing; however, I will say this about that…it was a science, a practice of serious stuff.
    For ten years, Gale and Bish traveled and traversed the world of track & field: training, throwing, lifting, competing, traveling, meeting royalty (Queen of England), dancing with the stars of the elite in sports (ask about Cuba), storming the topless beaches of Scandinavia, exchanging theory and practice of food, diet, training, resting, partying, and ‘supplements’ with the who’s who of strength and performance. All the while, throwing, throwing, throwing.
    The Dubin Inquiries was a painful and life altering event for both Bish and Gale; revealing true from fair weather friends, maligning some but not all, and initiating what was to be the beginning of the end of the Second Golden Age of Track & Field. Little did we know that the ‘70’s and 80’s were to be for wo/men of strength and stature what psychedelics and free speech was to the 60’s, a party already over. Eventually, the media frenzy drove them to central Canada, Saskatchewan, where Bishop continued his love of teaching and a much needed respite from the proceedings.
    And now, the party is truly over, the circle closing on a chapter of sports history, with the coinciding death of the former Ontario Appeal Court Chief Justice Charles Dubin on October 27, 2008 and his memorial concluding on Thursday, October 30th. Among those in attendance at Dubin’s memorial were the key figures from the 1989 inquiry into doping in amateur sport — former sprinter Ben Johnson and his coach Charlie Francis, whom came to show last respects for a man that they claimed was both fair and honorable. “To everything, turn, turn, turn…” the seasons, friendships, lovers, marriages, decades, millennia, and, of course, heavy spherical objects that fly through the air like magic when the wind is JUST right.
    Many of us will be expressing our last respects over the next couple of weeks to not only our friend Bish, but for the many men and women both before us and during our lifetimes, whom charted physical, emotional, psychological, and metabolic waters without a map, life raft, template, or compass; restless in deed, vigilant for the source of that constant agitation to locate that indescribable signal in order to relieve an unbearable aching to reach the next level of self consciousness and experience. Though not sensicle, rational, or reasonable, this search was a common thread between and among us holding us together through the pain, confusion, emptiness of both glory and loss.
    So, for Bishop and Gale, what started in Modesto, California and ended in Cedar City, Utah culminated in eighteen years of passion for each other, their love of sport and the brotherhood of community. Rest in peace my brother and friend, join the Polish Titans of strength and courage in the Halls of Valhalla. I still have JJ Cale’s tapes, which I’ll cherish as our little secret.
    Now, as for me and Jack—while not nearly as epic, our story was just as dramatic and one worth telling. But you’ll have to wait until he dies before I tell THAT tale! ; -)

  18. Jack Harkness - November 5, 2008

    It has been a week now since Bish shed this mortal coil and as I go through my own memories and see what others have said it is safe for all of us to say that Bishop will go on as long as there are people who ask who were the biggest and the strongest among not just throwers but all athletes. Interesting to see some of the people who have added to this blog, people whose lives now are so far removed from the heady days of our youth, but we all have this big guy in common. I turned my back on throwing and all those I knew from that life nearly 25 years ago, a mistake among the “should have, could have and would haves” along the way. Rather than rehash stories, as they are countless and regrettably too late to tell the man, I would simply like to state how thankful I am for having known Bish, grateful for all of the people he introduced me to and the memories they have added.
    My deepest condolences to Anna and all of Bish’s family and to everyone out there that knew him,I will view my memories as vividly as the moment they were created.
    In closing I will paraphrase an old friend and training partner and muse on the idea that one day we will be gathered around, beverages in hand recalling the wild, go for the gusto years, but if you don’t mind by the grace of the gods not too soon as there are still some people here I would like to say hello to again.

  19. Brian Marshall - November 5, 2008

    I could never find the words to thank Bish for taking my son Brad under his wing while Brad was attending the Univdersity of Saskatchewan. He was an enormous influence on Brad’s career and a real role model for him. The two of them would get a real caffein high then go out and throw for two hours at a time. I know Brad has a heavy heart and will always miss this giant of a man known to all as Bish.
    Brian Marshall

  20. Cynthia N. - November 6, 2008

    Im so sorry for hearing about your husbund my mom Christina and told me what happened all i saw my mom a sad old lady cring i bed for a long time . Your husbond might be dead but it doesn’t mean he is gone he will be always beside you…….i hope you can get better and i bet when he died it felt like your heart has been torn out………..get better
    Cynthia N.

  21. Dean Bauck - November 7, 2008

    I have a lifetime of memories about Bishop. Our first team together was the great 74 trip that Ain wrote about. I remember Bish racing Alan Capes in a big guys 400 m race in Wales for a pint of ale – it was close and who won didn’t matter – they both finished hard and drank the beer. The next year we were in Europe again and John Beers and I feathered in with Bish and Coach Jean Paul Baert and the thrower group and had lots of fun. We hooked up in Vasteras on the island of Visby with the midnight sun and then traveled Sweden in the throwers’ van ending up at a Ricky Bruch party in Malmo. I remember watching the best discus competition ever there with Bish, Ricky, Boris and Mac Wilkins in a perfect wind all throwing at world record distance in warm up, curving the disk into the sector.
    At the end of the summer I compulsively decided to move to Montreal and Bish immediately said we’re rooming together and so we did. In that year he and I became great friends and even though we haven’t connected in the last 25 years I still counted him among my closest buds. We had great times, training hard and getting ready for the Olympics but I was especially lucky just to get to know him well as a person. He had a huge drive for athletic excellence but he was also deeply committed to education and to being a good person. He made an indelible impression on what was a hugely formative time of my life. He set an example for me about what strength training should be and I got strong. He had a drive to succeed that could not be denied and I felt fortunate to be a part of it; but all that aside he was just interesting and fun to be with. I remember training at Canadair with him, Jane, Claude and Robert with beers after at the Brasserie Jet. We got burned buying oregano at the Café Campus at the U de M. We did long drives around and off the island talking for hours solving the world’s problems and ate late night steames – oops I just saw the no vegetarians sign and now feel like an imposer. I did stop eating the flesh on Bishop’s watch in 1976! He had the million dollar quadraphonic sound system in our two bit apartment where Umma Gumma sliced through my head like an alien vector. He turned me on to Jerry Jeff Walker and Austin City Limits. He thought it was great when all our friends from Vancouver and Edmonton (probably 10+ people) moved into our apartment before the Olympics and it became party central. We shared all the great times with the Canadian team over the next several years and those in the room will never forget the impromptu Commonwealth Games party in Edmonton in Claude and my room. We had like 9 medals on the day including Bish, Rob, Phil and even Jerome Drayton was partying with us! NO ONE was going to tell us to shut it down! So many good times like hanging with Bish, Rob and Jack in the bar outside the athletes’ village in San Juan, keeping a poor bartender up all night (with a month’s salary worth of tips) in Ciudad Bolivar. We worked hard, performed well and had lots of fun and Bish was the center of the deal and typically the one with the most credibility!
    I was privileged to be a part of the action with him and will remember and respect him as long as I live. There are people that do things well and there are people that not only do things well but do them with class; Bishop was one of those. He was a huge part of so many of the best memories of my life. Political correctness precludes me from saying a whole bunch more but this guy was cool as hell! Most of us moved on to other careers but Bishop had the credibility and passion for the sport to stay with T & F for the rest of his life – and wasn’t he fortunate and fulfilled to have done so.
    We always think we will catch up with our good old friends at some point but time passes quickly and too soon it is too late for that one last time. I was late in hearing about his passing but it has left me to think about little else today; I do miss him very deeply.
    I don’t care what the history books show or don’t show, I will proudly stand beside Bish as a friend forever. Rest in peace big buddy, you were the best and blessings to you Anna.
    His pencil necked high jump friend Dean

  22. Mike Spiritoso - November 8, 2008

    My condolences go out to Bish’s family and friends. He was a gentle giant, coach, friend and mentor.
    His love for the sport and willingness to help others was incredible.
    I was fortunate that Bish coached me for about 2 years in the mid 1980’s. He taught me to throw, compete and be fearless!
    I will miss the big guy but will not forget what he did for me!
    Mike Spiritoso

  23. John Craig - November 10, 2008

    Here is an article I will run in Athletics Magazine in Canada:
    Everyone who knew Bishop has a story about him. Here is mine.
    The University of Texas was at the top of the NCAA football world when I arrived on campus in the early 70s. The Longhorns had won the national title the year before and the team was the center of the universe for a state that was crazy-mad about football. For those who wore the burnt-orange and white that meant relentless practices, weight training programs, big egos and occasional belligerence.
    Most of the athletes, including the rookies, were housed on the top floors of Jester Residence Hall, and they ate in a common cafeteria reserved for scholarship athletes where the portions matched the appetites. And, given that practice for most teams ended at about the same time in the afternoon, there was always a line up at the cafeteria doors where hungry athletes jostled for position to be the first to sample the top chops and okra that was always on the menu.
    As distance runners who were, invariably, down a quart or two after a long run in the Texas heat, we were no match for the defensive backs and linesmen who felt it was there rightful place in life to be ahead of us, and most of the time we were too tired and too intimidated to put up a fight. Regardless of where we were in line, the football players took liberties and stepped to the front when there was either an opportunity or a friend ahead of us who needed company.
    This sort of behaviour was not reserved for the cafeteria line-up. When dinner and the hazing of new recruits was over we would all generally retire to the front foyer to wait for one of two slow elevators to take us up to our rooms. Again the track men were aware of their place on the food chain; when an elevator car arrived we would step in, along with as many football players as could tuck in behind us. I don’t think the brutes of the gridiron ever actually pushed us, but invariably they would squeeze in, around and behind us and keep squeezing until we would pop back into the hallway to wait for another car.
    We got used to it, which was a good thing since there wasn’t much we could do about it.
    But that all changed one night when Bishop, who was often the last out of the dining hall, arrived just as we shot back into the lobby to wait for another elevator. We had already turned to look back at our assailants, who were grinning at us beneath crew cuts and sun-burned faces. As the doors started to close our backs were to Bishop, who had turned the corner in time to see what had happened. As the rubber pads on the doors prepared to kiss each other, a fist shot over our heads and wedged into the narrowing door frame.
    Like the parting of the Red Sea, the doors opened again, this time revealing faces decidedly less pleased than they had been only moments before. There was along moment of silence as everyone adjusted to the new circumstances, but one thing was clear; the football players were all looking past the fist and up over our heads.
    We turned to see Bishop, who was red and shaking and in no mood for an argument.
    He got none.
    “Excuse me,” Bishop said through teeth that were holding some considerable rage at bay. “I think these gentlemen were here first.” He pointed at us, which only momentarily put us at the center of a possible melee. Then he looked back at the football players.
    Without hesitation the elevator emptied, twelve men – a ton and a half of muscle and sinew – shuffling and muttering like kids caught trying to sneak into a strip show. Then, in unison, they all apologized – to Bishop – and promised it wouldn’t happen again.
    It didn’t.
    Bishop hated bullies and was only a bully himself when he was called on to right a wrong. He had respect for people who worked and trained hard and little respect for people who thought they deserved it. Throughout university he rescued my friends and I on several occasions and to my knowledge no-one ever fought back, but Bishop never took a cheap shot either. To his credit I don’t think he ever hurt anyone.
    When you are that big, maybe you don’t have to.

  24. GS Jade Barrett - November 11, 2008

    I was a young triple jumper back in 74 when I had all but fouled out. I was feeling sorry for myself when Goliath (what us New York atheletes called Bish before we knew better) walked by and said “having a rough day” smiled and said “me, too”.
    That was enough to raise my spirits and while I did not win, I did manage to jump respectfully. I never for got that moment.
    Best memories never leave us…. GS Jade Barrett

  25. Quinn Magnuson - November 14, 2008

    Wow…I just heard about this and I don’t think, after reading all of the comments on here, that I can compare my story to those of you who knew Bish even better than I. I was a young HS shotput prodigy that had a lot of raw talent, but not much work ethic. I had thrown 15.90m (50ft??) as a HS freshman (12lb) and was introduced to Bishop as he was hired by the Saskatchewan TF Assoc in 1987.
    I had never heard of him and was scared to death of this “man” (mountain?) that wanted to coach me fulltime. Nevertheless I trusted the STFA and began training with Bishop in the Winter of 1987. He was a miracle worker… In 3 short months, I went frfom throwing 15.86m with the 4k SP to 16m with the 12lb HS shot. My bench was 170 for 8 in December and 250 for 6 by July. But stats were not all. My confidence levels for a big awkward (out of shape :)….) young man soared as Bishop not only taught me the ways of the circle but the lessons in life.
    I credit BD for making me who I am today. Confident, cocky at times (just like Bish but with respect), and willing to help others as he helped me. Our relationship took us (and me ) to two World Junior CHampionships (88 and 90) where I placed respectably in SP (12th in 1990 – 16.73m).
    There is something that has been mentioned in a lot ofo these comments but I want to make perfectly clear. Despite the fact that BD was invovled with steroids in the 70s and early 80s, HE NEVER EVER brought the subject up with me or any other thrower in our group other than to say they were wrong. He grew up as an athlete in a time where steroids were accepted practice and he was part of the rule not the exception. He became the sacrificial lamb at the Dubin Inquiry and people (some friends) turned on him. That was sad.
    Bishop, as I know your reading a lot of these, while downing a few “beverages”, understand that I never doubted you and missed you terribly when you had to leave Saskatchewan because of all the “bad press”.
    He was a coach, mentor, father figure, gentle giant and best of all, a friend.
    My prayers are with Anna and I look forward to the day I leave this world and can have another meal and a drink and a laugh with my friend, Bish.
    Salut and God Bless
    Quinn Magnuson

  26. Borys Chambul - December 9, 2008

    When Rudy B. informed me that Bish had passed away I was shocked and saddend.
    My brother Luby told me about this site this passed weekend while we attended a medical seminar. Bishop was a frequent topic of discussion while we reminisced about our competitive days as throwers.
    Bish and I began our throwing career at Parkdale Lions and trained at Brockton Stadium. We had trained together and were competitors on the field during high school and university. I was always in awe of his tremendous strength and his throwing ability. His presence on the field was always motivating and inspiring. He was gratious and complimenting when in 1976 I won the NCAA/Pac8 and broke his discus Canadian/Commonwealth record. I’ll always remember Bish asking how I did it being so skinny!…I was 243 then! He had a tremendous sense of humour.
    One last true story. In 1976 we were training in Long Beach California after qualifying for the Montreal Olympics. After working out two a days we decided to go out to dinner. We both were quite hungry. At the restaurant we asked what the waiter recommended. He looked at Bish and me and said “the prime rib. We will start you at two 8oz. pieces there after we will bring you 5oz. pieces. The record is 8! We both had eaten 10(over 50 oz. of prime rib a piece!!! (I had some help with the last two pieces). Bishop looked over at me struggling and suggested I have some cheese cake for desert! Without missing a beat he had two portions of cheese cake! Needles to say I couldn’t compete.
    When we finished our ‘meal’, the waiter asked for our autographs and since we were the new record holders, they did not charge us for the meal!!!..
    I heard someone in the back of the restaurant yell out ” Down the street there is a place where if you can eat a five pound burrito they will not charge you”!!!…We passed that evening;0)
    We shared many humourous moments. Some I cannot/will not mention on a public forum.
    Unfortunately, our life’s paths did not cross again since 1982, but my memories of Bishop will always be happy ones.
    My sincerest condolences go to Anna his wife, his brother Richard and his parents for their untimely loss.
    Borys Chambul

  27. Seth - December 10, 2008

    Most of you had professional contact with Bish, so I thought I would chime in and bring a bit of a different side.
    I was lucky enough to have Bish as my strength coach while attending high school in Draper, UT. He helped me lift to my potential and he always brought a smile to my face when he told me “you are going to be bigger than Dallas!”
    I enjoyed the three years I trained under Bish (1999 – 2002) and through his program I went from a 125lb bench to 340lbs my senior year. Bish was there, every day, encouraging us to reach our potential, even though we were only high school students.
    I’m greatly saddened to hear this news and I will miss him greatly.

  28. Harold David Montreal ,Quebec - May 27, 2009

    I am very sorry to hear about Bishops Passing. I met Bishop at Jack’s place on Mountain St. in Montreal back in the mid 70’s.He always was a mentor an a inspiration to me. He told me too keep running and someday I reach my goals. He will be missed by all those who knew him. The world has lost a great man and athlete. Goodbye my friend till we met again. Harry

  29. Bill - December 3, 2009

    yea nice Work 😀

  30. Grant Roberts - June 24, 2011

    Bishop was a great friend… however, as is often the case in life friends grow apart and time passes… you think about your friend and where they are and that one day you will catch up. If you are fortunate enough to catch up, it as though not a day has gone by. Today that was my wish, even though a few years have passed, it pains me none the less. I have thought of Bishop often and only today decided to search for him. Larger than life, gregarious and genuine are the best descriptors of my friend. We on occasion after a work out, would celebrate life with good meal and a ice cold bottle of Stoly. I haven’t drank Stoly since the last time I saw Bish, I have just returned from the store with a bottle- to toast the life and times and have one more drink with my friend. Miss you Bish and look forward to the next time we meet.

  31. Chip Lake - February 7, 2012

    I had the distinct pleasure of coaching and being a great friend with Bish. I coached with him at Southern Utah University for a number of years and he and I ran the track and field part of the Utah Summer Games. Traveling with him to meets and hearing his stories.
    Bish was a huge teddy bear of man.He was a great friend interesting college instructor…just an all around great human being. “Walk with God Bish”

  32. Alain Gilbert - April 25, 2014

    I was just browsing the web and saw that this page existed. I had the chance to be coached by Bishop in Montreal in 1986. I think he believed in me more than I did myself. He was always positive and had good words.
    To this day, I’m still sorry I had to quit the training.
    I surely think about him really often.
    Thank you Bishop for showing me to always give the best of myself.

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