By John Furlong

The sum of all fears is to live a life without meaning; to be judged to have taken much and given little; to fall silent in the shadows when courageous words and example were needed.

None of these things could be said about Calgary favourite son, Frank King.

Canadians today ache over the passing of Frank, a man of enormous achievement and legacy who will forever hold a prominent spot on the highest podium of Alberta history. He hid his inner fears, insecurities and self-doubts from plain sight so that those nearby would continue to believe they could do impossible things. And they did.

These are the qualities of giants. To witness is to have a front row seat to extraordinary transformational leadership.

As we prepare to say farewell to Frank today, we can still hear his ever-optimistic voice, his “yes we can” fearless enthusiasm and his determination to always do it right.

I considered him a great friend, but the truth is I hardly knew him. Such was the quality of the man. In the early days of adversity and struggle around the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, I turned to Frank to seek comfort and counsel. To try and be convinced that to win was possible. To prepare for the huge challenges to come — many of them still sight unseen.

“Tell me what you are worried about,” he would say. My answer? Everything. He smiled as if to say all will be OK.

I hoped we could emulate Calgary, make Canada proud and inspire deep love of country and uncommon patriotism. During our first meeting, and countless questions, after a brief pause, he looked over at me and said, “Don’t try to emulate Calgary. Be better than us, take this as far as you can and do as much good as you can.”

He continued: “Don’t look back with regret, pour it on and there is no time to waste. Finish what we started.”

Simple, poignant, memorable and yet powerful. He was a wonderful mentor, deeply humble and generous beyond words.

Bidding for the Olympics requires endurance and resilience. It’s a punishing journey. I was lucky in times of total exhaustion to be able to call Frank day or night for a little course correction. He was my personal cut man, always there when needed.

Calgary will forever …read more



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Furlong: Frank King proved that the impossible is achievable

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