Annapolis Royal’s Gary Walsh off to Pan American Games

Retired educator, robotics director gets key position at karate venue

Lawrence Powell
Published on July 16, 2015

Gary Walsh, right, with other Canadian officials in their Karate Gi's being tested at the Senior Pan Am Karate Championships in Toronto in March. Walsh now has his National Officials License, and his Pan Am Kata Judge C qualifications.


ANNAPOLIS ROYAL – Anybody who knows Gary Walsh knows he doesn’t slow down much.

If the retired teacher and principal and current director of robotics at Acadia University isn’t playing in a rock band he’s instructing karate students or officiating in the sport. He’s even been known to organize golf tournaments for New Year’s Day.

This week he’s off to Toronto to take charge of the results at the karate venue at the Pan American Games.

And Walsh has the credentials. He’s currently the president of Karate Nova Scotia, a director with the Karate Board of Canada, and chief instructor with the Valley Karate Club.

In March he officiated at the Senior Pan American Games Karate Championships in Toronto where he earned his Pan American officials licence.

Walsh was already certified at the highest level nationally as a judge and referee, has his third degree black belt, and advanced teaching licence in the Chito Ryu style.


Life-long Experience

Walsh said he was named Karate venue results manager for three reasons – his life-long experience, his status as an official as evidence by his recently acquired Pam Am officials licence, and his technical knowledge obvious from being a member of the Department of Computer Science at Acadia.

“It’s very exciting,” said Walsh. “This is the top athletes in Canada being able to compete in front of their home crowd.”

Walsh said for Canadians, the Pan American Games is the step just above the Commonwealth Games and just below the Olympics. But Karate isn’t an Olympic sport, Walsh admits, but says that could change. He said up to this point one of the main reasons the sport has been left out of the Olympics is the fact that it had been judged differently in different parts of the world. He said now, worldwide, there is standardized judging through the World Karate Federation.

He said the odds that it will some day be an Olympic sport are better now than ever, but nobody will know until it gets close to each year Olympics are held. And even then it would be picked up as a demonstration sport first.


Career Highlight

For Walsh, participating in the games is a career highlight.

“All my training and all the work that I do has paid off,” he said. “It’s made it possible for me to work at this position at the Pan Am games.”

Karate takes place in the last week of the games, July 19-26, at the MississaugaSports Centre. Other Pan Am Games sport being held there are Judo, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Goalball, Powerlifting, and Wheelchair Rugby. Go to

Walsh is no stranger to organized games. He’s taken part at the Canada games from 1971 to 2001 in wrestling and weight lifting. Walsh grew up in Windsor and is a retired teacher and principal living in Annapolis royal. He retired in 2009 and became director of robotics at Acadia University several years ago.

Closing ceremonies are July 26 which is Gary Walsh’s last day there.


Pan-Am Games by the numbers

-- There are 36 sports

-- There are 52 disciplines

-- There are 6,000 athletes

-- There are 29 venues

-- There are 20 days of completion.