Supporting Canadian Athletes

Adam Trupish

Bad luck has plagued welterweight boxer Adam Trupish’s Olympic dream in two previous Games campaigns. But prior disappointments won’t keep the eight-time national champion from fighting for gold in Beijing. Already qualified based on world championship results, Adam continues to train tirelessly to ensure he’ll be in top shape for August.

This determination has helped Adam excel outside of the ring as well. He has been Boxing Canada’s team captain and athlete rep for two years and works tirelessly in his community to promote boxing and motivate disadvantaged children to be active.

Adam was born in London, Ont., and grew up in nearby Windsor.

He began boxing at the Windsor Amateur Boxing Club at age 13 after a school friend talked him into it. At first, Adam was intimidated by the gym as it looked like “the set of a Rocky movie—rough and tough and no nonsense and no windows.” But his poor first impression of the gym didn’t compare to the initial impression he made on the gym’s patrons.

“I was a pip squeak,” says Adam. “I was the skinniest, littlest kid there and no one talked to me. After a few days people started to show me things and eventually the coaches started to take a liking to me.”

Adam soon began working with Charles Stewart who has been his coach ever since.

Adam made the Ontario team in 1995, and that year won bronze at the Canada Games and junior national championships. In 1997 he won the intermediate national championships and in 1999 won his first of eight senior national championships.

“I beat a guy (Mike Strange) who hadn’t lost to another Canadian in 12 years,” says Adam. “I was really ready for that fight. I dropped him a few times and won in a decision.”

Later that year at Olympic trials, Adam faced Strange again for a chance to compete in Sydney. When Adam hit Strange in a “grey area” (side of the back), Strange went down in a heap and was carried off on a stretcher. Adam was disqualified and his Olympic hopes were dashed.

That punch and subsequent disqualification caused debate in the boxing community as there were questions as to whether Strange had really been hurt and if Adam’s disqualification was justified. In fact, because of that incident, there is now a committee in place that looks into questionable incidents and decides if they warrant a disqualification or if there should be a rematch.

The controversy took a toll on Adam who was so disheartened by the incident that he headed to the U.S. soon after to look at professional boxing opportunities.

“I had a sour taste for amateur sport,” he says.

But unable to find the right contract and nursing a broken jaw (suffered in a fight he went on to win), Adam decided to give amateur boxing another shot and returned to Canada in 2002.

Adam made a triumphant comeback to the Canadian team winning the 2003 national championships and shortly after qualifying for the 2004 Olympics. In the best shape of his life heading into Athens, Adam was again hit by bad luck when a cut on his nose in his opening round bout refused to stop bleeding and the doctor was forced to call the match. Despite the disappointment, the Olympic experience left Adam wanting more.

“It was an amazing experience and it prompted me to stick around for another four years,” says Adam.

Adam won four consecutive Canadian championships (2003-2007) and qualified for Beijing at the 2007 world championships. Because of a broken thumb, he was unable to compete in the 2008 Canadian championships, but Adam says he’ll be ready for Beijing and hopes to be a serious medal contender.

Adam has served as team captain and athlete rep for Boxing Canada for two years.

He was elected by his fellow boxers at the 2006 national championships and says he decided to run because he felt past reps took on the position for the wrong reasons.

“Past athlete reps put the title on their business cards, but didn’t actually do much,” says Adam. “Being a national team member since 1999 and seeing past reps, I thought I could do a better job.”

His main goal as athlete rep is to help his fellow athletes become more aware of services available to them. That includes learning more about AthletesCAN, who Adam says he knew little about before attending the 2007 Forum in Whitehorse.

“Athletes need to do their homework to find out what is available,” he says. “People won’t go looking for them.”

Currently, Adam is in the process of opening a boxing club in Edmonton, Alta. He says the neighbourhood the club is in isn’t the greatest, but he hopes it becomes a place where kids can really flourish. He is looking forward to working with kids and providing them with guidance in both sport and in life.

“My coach to this day is my role model and is a father figure,” says Adam, who hopes to have the same impact on his athletes. “Being a coach isn’t just about the sport. You have many different hats. You are a part of these kids’ lives and that is important to me.”

Adam admits the sport of boxing has its negative aspects and he wants the kids he works with to have the best experience possible.

“I want to give the best information out to kids that I can,” he says. “Boxing is a scandalous sport and there are a lot of different characters—good and bad. I want to be out there as a good person.”

Adam’s volunteer work includes visiting schools and community centres and attending community events to encourage kids to get active. One of the ways Adam promotes sport is by presenting kids with some of his 200-plus trophies and medals.

“They mean more to the kids,” says Adam. “Otherwise they’d just be sitting on my shelf.”

Adam also has a bike safety commercial that runs in the Windsor area and the Adam Trupish Random Acts of Kindness Award is presented annually in Chatham, Ont. to recognize good deeds and leadership.

Adam currently splits his time between Windsor and Edmonton, AB.

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