Denis Ten stood out in sea of excellence

My photo of Denis Ten in the mixed zone at the World Figure Skating Championships in London in 2013.


Crushed to hear of the death of Denis Ten in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

The silver medalist from the World Figure Skating championships in London made a lasting impression on me when he was here.

Denis Ten gave me a couple of fantastic interview at the worlds. He was engaging, always smiling and excited to talk about his freedom fighting ancestor from Korea.

The then 19-year-old took the time to talk to everyone.

It was shocking to hear that he had been stabbed multiple times over car mirrors in Kazakhstan, where he was born.

Reports stay Ten was stabbed after confronting thieves who were stealing his car mirrors. He bled to death.

Ten won the silver medal in London and nearly beat Canadian Patrick Chan for gold.

Ten skated a memorable long program to The Artist .

His choreography and interpretation of  the music was superlative and he stood out among the world’s best.

So amazing was his performance that a petition was started to try to get him the gold.

Ten had the best free skate of the night with a personal best of 174.92. Chan scored 169.41 on the long program, with 267.78 overall. Ten nearly caught him, finishing at 266.48.

An emotional Ten got down on his hands and knees at centre ice at Budweiser Gardens after his skate and kissed the ice. He touched his heart and blew kisses to the audience. Two Kazakhstan flags were seen in the crowd. Later he had one of them as he skated around the arena.

When I talked to Ten about his skating he said it was great-great grandfather who brought him courage on the ice.

Ten’s ancestor was Korean freedom fighter General Min Keung-Ho, who sacrificed his life for Korea’s independence in the early 20th century and is much revered there.

“Sometimes I skate and I think that he watches at me and I have no chance to fail him, to disappoint him. It’s sort of an additional responsibility to me,” he said.

“I wish I could meet with him and talk to him because I know how strong he was. All this helps me when I realize my great-great-grandfather was such a great man.”

Maybe he’ll get his chance to meet his great-great grandfather now. It’s the only consolation as I think of such a ruthless and senseless act that took Ten’s life.

Denis Ten, right, on the podium after receiving his silver medal at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championship. Patric Chan of Canada receives gold and Javier Fernandez of Spain won bronze.  Kathy Rumleski photo



What you may not know about Sir Frederick Banting


As people around the globe celebrate the 125th anniversary of Sir Frederick Banting’s birth on World Diabetes Day, his famous discovery often overshadows his service to country and his other talents.

It was here in London, Ont. where Banting had his medical breakthrough that led to millions of lives being saved around the world.

At his home at 442 Adelaide St. N. – site of what is now the museum Banting House – the doctor scrawled a note to himself in the middle of the night about his theory on insulin.

It was 2 a.m. on Halloween 1920, a Banting House article notes, when “Banting woke up and wrote down the 25 word hypothesis that would permanently cement him in the minds of people everywhere as the man who discovered insulin.”

As London is the birthplace of insulin, I’ve had the opportunity to write about Banting in the past.

Did you know Banting served in both World Wars?

Banting served in the Great War as a doctor, and during the Second World War, Banting used his medical knowledge to assist air crews. In 1941, he was heading to England on a mission when the plane he was in crashed in Newfoundland. Injured in the crash, Banting attended to the pilot before he died. Banting was 49.

That age is significant because Banting had planned to make a significant change in his life.

Banting was a talented artist, some say one of the best amateur painters in Canada. He planned to devote himself to his art once he turned 50. Unfortunately he never made it to that age.

Banting was friends with Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson and the pair would take painting excursions to places such as the Arctic, Georgian Bay and Quebec. It was likely on a trip to Quebec that he painted the above artwork, Village in Winter, which was purchased by Banting House for nearly $24,000 in 2010 from an auction.

On his painting trips, Banting would sometimes register under a different name because he had become so famous.

A good read about Banting is Breakthrough: Banting, Best and the Race to Save Millions of Diabetics. It’s a narrative about his life based on historical facts.


I will be thinking about Sir Edward Morrison this Remembrance Day

Sir Edward WB Morrison was born in London in 1867 and served his country during a career as a journalist, writer and military member.

He was knighted for his services on the battlefield.

Definitely an unsung hero because few people know of this man.

My story below is about his connection to In Flanders Fields. If not for his loyalty, this poem published 100 years ago this year, might not have been written.

Thanks to a blog reader who first brought his story to my attention.

My photos from Pan Am Games competition in Toronto

Damian Warner of London after Day 1 of the decathlon
Damian Warner of London after Day 1 of the decathlon
Damian Warner misses his high jump attempt. He clears 1.97, below his best of 2.07
Marquise Goodwin flies off the blocks.
Marquise Goodwin flies off the blocks.


Medal ceremony for women's 800 metres. Great to see Canadian flag on top. Lovely scene as the sun sets.
Medal ceremony for women’s 800 metres. Great to see Canadian flag on top. Lovely scene as the sun sets.
Damian Warner after the day's competition.
Damian Warner after the day’s competition.
Marquise Goodwin, left and Jeffery Henderson, celebrate silver and gold respectively in long jump.
Marquise Goodwin, left and Jeffery Henderson, celebrate silver and gold respectively in long jump.
Melissa Bishop celebrates her win in the 800 metres.
Melissa Bishop celebrates her win in the 800 metres.
Andre De Grasse after winning the 100 metres.
Andre De Grasse set for the 100 metres, which he won.
Jillian Camarena-Williams and her son clap along with the crowd after she won the silver medal in shot put.
Jillian Camarena-Williams and her son clap along with the crowd after she won the silver medal in shot put.
My mother and I outside Athletics Stadium.
My mother and I outside Athletics Stadium.
400 decathlon
Damian Warner of London, second from right, competes in the decathlon 400 metres, which he won.

Facing fears for a friend

A group of friends is trying to help a man with brain cancer.

Their approach is unique. Yes, they hope to raise funds for their friend Tyler Warren, but they also want to show him support as he undergoes chemo for Grade 4 glioblastoma.

They are asking people to do something that terrifies them. Whether it’s walking on the CN Tower Skywalk or playing with a spider, whatever scares you, they are asking you to face.

They want people to take a video of what they are doing and upload it to:

The funds needed would cover Tyler’s medical bills and daily costs as he is no longer able to work.

It has been a little more than a month since Tyler learned the news of the brain cancer so he is in the early stages of treatment.

There’s also a Facebook page called Fearless For Tyler.

What do you think of this approach?

Fontana found guilty of all three charges in fraud case

London mayor Joe Fontana is guilty of fraud, uttering a forged document and breach of trust by a public official.

Justice Bruce Thomas said Friday morning he could not understand “why a man of such accomplishments might choose to take these actions for the sum of $1,700.”

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

Are you surprised by the verdict?

Here’s more on what happened in court:





Setting a record for cold weather

The record for the coldest Jan. 7 has been broken today in London.

Early this morning, London sat at -26.2 C, shattering the old mark set in 1942 of -21.7 C.

Hard to believe a record stood for so long.

What are you doing to stay warm?

Will you go outside at all today?

Yesterday my boys wanted to go tobogganing. They lasted 12 minutes. I was monitoring them carefully as the wind on the hill was bitterly cold.

I won’t be letting them go today.

Schools have been closed in the area. Was that the right call.

How do you plan to spend the day?


London girl saves local man, struggling in Lake Huron

My favourite story from my day of work at CTV.

It was sad news all around today from Quebec, to San Francisco to Elgin County and cottage country.

But as we learn of a London man who drowned in the Severn River today, another one was saved in Lake Huron by a little girl and her dad.

The world is in London: Welcome

skate photo

I picked up my accreditation Saturday for the World Figure Skating Championships. Practices start bright and early Monday morning.

If you want to watch the skaters, you can do so for $15 at the designated practice rink at Western Fair Sports Centre. The first skaters on the ice start at 8:10 a.m. Be there early though, because there will only be so many spectators allowed.

If you want to watch practices at Budweiser Arena, you will have to pay. Tickets start at $22.

I`ll be doing my blog each day from the championships.

I am also doing stories for The Winnipeg Free Press, The Williston Observer in Vermont and Haaretz, a daily newspaper and online media outlet in Israel.

We say eh, use “u” in certain words and are gosh darn polite but where has it gotten us?

I argue that Canadians are incredibly innovated people, particularly our athletes.

But we don’t get the recognition we deserve.

Have a read of my column in last Saturday’s London Free Press and let me know if you agree or disagree.