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.

A glimpse of the character of former mayor Tom Gosnell



It’s not the big things a person does in life that truly tell his or her character, it’s all the little things that add up to a life of positive impact.

As we remember former London mayor Tom Gosnell, who died Monday, I want to share a behind-the-scenes story at city hall.

One evening three J-school students trotted up to the municipal centre of politics, camera gear in tow.

It had probably been a long enough day for Mayor Gosnell, but he agreed to be interviewed by 3 kids learning the craft.

And as we were learning, we made a costly mistake. It’s a mistake I think every broadcast journalist has made. No sound on the interview.

And it had been a long interview, close to an hour as I recall. He didn’t just give us a few minutes, he allowed us all the time we needed to set up in his office (we were slow and I’d like to say meticulous, but apparently not) and then ask every question we wanted.

The interview went well. It was only after we returned to school and played it back, that we realized we had a lip-synced version only.

We gave Tom a call and packed everything up and back we went. He didn’t flinch when we asked if we could do the interview again. Didn’t say he had something else to do, which I’m sure he did. Just told us to come on back.

I don’t recall if the second interview was as good as the first, but it didn’t matter. This busy politician had given us more time that day then he probably spent with his own family.

He knew that talking to journalism students mattered as much as talking to CFPL-TV (not sure what re-incarnation or name our station was at that particular point in time). Well it mattered to us, anyway, and it’s something I’ve never forgotten.

Thanks Tom and RIP.