March 20, 2004
Igali's a real class act
By BRET 'HITMAN' HART - Calgary Sun
I just got back from Vancouver where I attended a charity dinner organized by my good friend, Canada's Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Daniel Igali. Igali promised himself, when he won Olympic gold, he'd build a first-rate elementary school in Eniwari, Nigeria, the small African village where he was raised.
The existing school is a two-room shack, with no running water and holes in the roof.
I'm not really surprised Daniel was able to raise more than $200,000 because it's the kind of tenacity with which he does everything.
Like how he just overcame neck surgery and still managed to qualify to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
With a matching grant from the Canadian International Development Agency, Daniel is proudly looking forward to being able to move ahead with construction of the school by the end of the year.
If you'd like to help, send a cheque -- payable to Canadian University Services Overseas -- to Canadian University Services Overseas, University Advancement, Simon Fraser University, Room 2118 Stand Hall, 8888 University Dr., Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6.
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CONGRATS, CHRIS: I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Chris Benoit for winning the WWE world heavyweight championship last weekend at Wrestlemania XX.
I remember Chris when he was just a little kid hanging around the Stampede Wrestling dressing room in Edmonton.
Chris idolized The Dynamite Kid and, when Chris first broke into the business, Dynamite thought enough of him to give him his wrestling boots. And there's no doubt Chris still has them, too.
For all the years I've known Chris, he's exemplified a dedicated work ethic. I have respected him as a wrestler for a long time.
Besides, he's also an all-around good guy in a business where it's easy to forget from where you came.
Chris deserves everything he gets because he earned it.
With Benoit holding the world championship, I can't help but be impressed with the direction the WWE is going.
I've always felt after exhausting the shock-value aspect, the only place the company could go is back to what built WWE in the first place -- realistic, skilful wrestling.
And there's nobody who does that better today than Chris Benoit.
Long may you run, my friend.
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GOODBYE, HERC: On a sadder note, the wrestling world says goodbye to yet another warrior.
Hercules Hernandez (Ray Fernandez) died of a heart attack earlier this month. He was 46.
'Herc' will be best remembered for his bouts with the Ultimate Warrior and Earthquake (John Tenta).
But I remember him best for tagging up with Paul Roma as Power and Glory and having some epic battles with The Hart Foundation.
Herc had a big heart and what I remember best about him is how he kept his sense of humour through some wild, unpredictable times.
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HITMEN TO DYE FOR: How about those Calgary Hitmen, making the playoffs for the seventh straight season.
I'm looking forward to watching them upset Brent Sutter's Red Deer Rebels in the first round.
With all the Hitmen dying their hair blond, I just want to say as much as I support you guys to the bitter end -- no, you won't be seeing The Hitman with blond hair.
Then again, if you make it to the Memorial Cup, I'll have no problem doin' the Gorgeous George for ya!