Jon Montgomery's journey from small-town Manitoban to Gold-medal Olympian
WINNIPEG -- Olympic athlete and gold medalist turned host of Amazing Race Canada said he’s proud of where it all started for him – back in Russell, Man.
Jon Montgomery won gold for Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics for skeleton racing. His win at the Olympics went viral after his famous post-win “beer walk” when a fan gave him a pitcher of beer. Montgomery said that moment when his “beer angel” handed him a pitcher – that was a turning point in his life.
“She saw a guy that looked thirsty and did nothing other than the nicest gesture she could, which was quench that thirst with a pitcher of beer,” Montgomery told CTV’s Maralee Caruso. “In that second, where I was maybe able to connect with people in their living rooms in a way that I hadn’t prior to that, an hour earlier with winning gold.”
Montgomery said his impromptu beer walk gave Canada a closer access to the gold-medal win.
“My life was headed in one direction until she handed me that jug of beer and then it literally took a turn. A turn for amazing opportunities and an abundance of things I would never say no to.”
Following the beer-walk, an “amazing” opportunity did present itself to Montgomery in the form of the TV show the Amazing Race Canada. Montgomery took on hosting the show in 2013 and has been the host ever since.
Montgomery said there was something that happened to him when he was young that started him down this path. He calls it an “epiphany.” It happened in his hometown of Russell, Man., in the parking lot of his school in 1989, when his dad introduced him to former NHL player Theo Fleury. He says the moment still gives him goosebumps.
“I realized big things could happen to small people from small towns. We had a community spirit in Russel that fed into that belief system. That fed into the notion that we can compete with anybody, anywhere, anytime and we don’t need to be from somewhere else,” Montgomery said. “I am proud to be from Russel, Manitoba, there’s no doubt about that.”
Montgomery was in Winnipeg on Nov. 14 for the lighting of a giant Christmas Tree at CF Polo Park.
-with files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso