TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Main Media Centre Dedicated to Canada's Premier Amateur Sports Journalist

TO2015 and Toronto Star pay tribute to Randy Starkman

TORONTO, July 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The TORONTO Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) honoured the exceptional life and career of veteran amateur sports journalist Randy Starkman today, with the official opening of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Randy Starkman Media Centre.

TO2015 and the Toronto Star together paid tribute to the late journalist, who worked at the Toronto Star for over two decades, and would have been an indispensable reporter at this summer's Games.

To celebrate the official opening of the Centre, Starkman's family, friends and colleagues unveiled a special plaque honouring him. The plaque, donated by the Toronto Star, will hang near the entrance of the Main Press Centre workroom for both the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. 

"To say that it is fitting that the Main Press Centre for this summer's Games be named after Starkman would be an understatement," said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TO2015. "The Centre will serve as a home base to hundreds of reporters from across the Americas while they cover the largest multi-sport competition in Canadian history. This is an important moment and we're honored to make Randy's legacy a part of that history."

The two-time National Newspaper Award winner covered 12 Olympic Games and two Pan Am Games and is widely known as one of Canada's leading experts and greatest champions of amateur athletes. Starkman is respected in the Canadian sport world for his dedication to covering amateur sport and athletes, turning down opportunities to cover high-profile beats, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays. Athletes across Canada trusted that he would tell stories that were true to who they were, never misquoting or misrepresenting facts.

TO2015 has also dedicated a workspace to Starkman, who was known for being the first journalist in and the last journalist out of Games press rooms, which typically close at 2 a.m. The workspace will contain press clippings from his work repertoire, a laptop with tribute videos for visitors to watch during the Games, as well as a notepad for journalists and athletes to write personal stories and memories of Starkman, which will be given to his family after the Games. Starkman's family will also be presented with a TORONTO 2015 accreditation pass in his honour.

"Press centres like this one were Randy's second home — sort of his natural habitat," said Starkman's widow, Mary Hynes, who covered sports with him for five years before they were married. "This was where he did the work he loved, and where he reconnected with so many of the colleagues he loved from all over the world.  I'm just so grateful to everyone at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games for making this happen; it's the perfect way to honour Rand. He'd love it." 

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Randy Starkman Media Centre will be located in CIBC Pan Am Park, one of the Games' hubs, which will feature 16 different sports. The Centre will be the home base for approximately 1,500 accredited press from across the Americas coming to Toronto to cover the Games. 

To purchase tickets, visit TORONTO2015.org/tickets.

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games ticket program is designed to be affordable and accessible for everyone by offering:

Integrated tickets: Every event ticket will allow the holder to access transit on the day of the event.

Affordable pricing: Tickets start at just $20, with 75 per cent of tickets priced $45 and under.

Half-price tickets for persons under 16 years of age, or 65 and over: Tickets will be offered at a 50 per cent discount— some will start at $10. The number of discounted tickets is limited, so buy early.

Tickets for Parapan Am sporting events will range from $20 to $35 for adults, with a youth (under 16) and senior (65+) discount from $10 to $12.50 available, depending on the event. The number of discounted discount tickets is limited, so don't delay.

Easy options for buying: Tickets can be purchased online at TORONTO2015.org/tickets or at 1.855.726.2015 and internationally at 1.949.333.4824.

About TO2015

The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10–26 and the Parapan American Games August 7–15. The TORONTO 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as Lead Partner CIBC and other partners and sponsors

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) is tasked with managing and delivering the Games. It is working to bring some of the world's best athletes and artists to Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, giving Ontarians a unique chance to be part of the action, and making the region a hub for sport.

For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org or follow @TO2015@TO2015_fr (French) or @TO2015_es (Spanish).

Quotes Page:

Adam van Koeverden, Canada's most decorated sprint kayaker and four-time Olympic medallist:
"Randy Starkman wasn't just one of the familiar faces in the media scrum, he was the guy that every athlete knew by name, and the guy who knew every athlete by name; he even knew all of our parents' names and our dog's names, too. Randy was our friend and our colleague — actually he was as much a member of the Canadian Olympic Team as anyone on the start line. Randy brought our stories to life not just during the Olympics, not just every four years, but every single day. We miss Randy so much, and I think it's awesome that the Main Media Centre will bear his name, even though he'd probably hate that. You deserve the recognition Randy, so just accept it!"

Marnie McBean, three-time Olympic gold medalist, rowing, Team Canada:
"I remember Randy with such affection and I miss him dearly. He was a journalist who covered my sport career and who became a friend. I miss talking with Randy about sport in Canada; about my sport and about the sports of others. He knew our results, our highs and lows, trials and tribulations, our sport politics and the sport landscape. Randy observed and documented so many of our lives, for so long, that when we would connect, he had the advantage of context that many journalists who "pop in" for the occasion lacked in conversation. With his perspective, Randy could challenge a flippant or cliché statement, forcing an athlete to actually think about an answer; he kept us real. Randy was interested in what was going on with our training and our sport when the competition lights were off and the stands were empty. He wondered who we were away from the field of play. Why was that important to us? Competition is kind of the easy part of what an athlete does; it's the shiny toy that we get to play with after extended stretches of unglamorous toil and struggle. Why was that important to him? Knowing how we got to a competition made the stories he wrote about us when it was "showtime" so much more compelling and genuine."

Teddy Katz, director of media relations and chief spokesperson, TO2015:
"The TORONTO 2015 Games would have been Randy's Games. Taking place in his home town, with athletes' careers he followed and cared about. Randy was always someone that athletes and other journalists respected because of his passion to tell great athlete stories from across the country. While he focused a lot on medals and Canadian medallists getting recognition, a lot of the athletes saw him as the real champion. His absence will be felt among journalists, athletes and fans this summer."

John Cruickshank, publisher, Toronto Star:
"Randy Starkman reported on the lives, struggles and careers of amateur athletes for more than 20 years for the Star. He was, without a doubt, the best reporter on amateur sports in the country. His coverage focused not just on the big international events, such as the Pan Am Games or the Olympics, but also on the years of hard work and dedication by amateur athletes who wanted to compete in all levels of competitions. Naming the Main Media Centre after Randy is a fabulous way to honour his career and his legacy."

SOURCE Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

Image with caption: "Toronto Star Publisher John Cruickshank, Randy’s mother Estelle Starkman, TO2015 CEO Saäd Rafi, Randy’s widow Mary Hynes, Olympian Julia Wilkinson, and Randy’s siblings Laurie Starkman and Fern Turner unveil the Randy Starkman Media Centre plaque. A workspace In the TO2015 Main Press Centre has been set up in the late Toronto Star journalist’s honour. (CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150702_C6928_PHOTO_EN_433234.jpg

For further information: Teddy Katz, Director, media relations and chief spokesperson, TO2015, 416.957.2117, teddy.katz@toronto2015.org

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