Frank J. Hayden, O.C., Ph.D., LL.C.

Nickname _MultiSports-300x350
Year Inducted 2014
Category Builder
Sport Special Olympics


  • Sports scientist, who conceived, created and directed Special Olympics International, which currently provides sports training and competition for 3.2 million athletes with intellectual disabilities in 172 countries.
  • Resident of the St Catharines from 1930-1956 where he played minor to intermediate / senior basketball, baseball, lacrosse, football and track; high school football, basketball and track (St. Catharines Collegiate)
  • B.A in Physical Education from University of Western Ontario, 1955 (Wrestling, assistant football coach, President of Physical Education Society)
  • M.S., Ph.D. Exercise Physiology and Psychology, Univsersity of Illinois.
  • Faculty Member: University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario and McMaster University (Director of the School of Physical Education and Athletics and creator of the McMaster Sports Fitness School)
  • Directed the first national study of the fitness of Canadian children (1966). Created the Centennial Fitness Awards (1967) which became the Canada Fitness Awards. Co-authored the RCAF’s famous 5BX program.
  • Consultant and Director, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, Washington, D.C., where he developed new concepts in playground design; established federal legislation to assist sport programs for person with disabilities; created a national fitness awards program and worked with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.
  • 1968 created and directed the first National Special Olympics Games – Soldier Field in Chicago, and incorporated “Special Olympics, Inc.”
  • In the next two years, established Special Olympics organizations and games in all 50 states plus beginning programs in Canada and France.
  • 1981-84, on leave from McMaster University, established Special Olympics’ Office of International Development and served as its first Director.
  • In 1988, moved to Paris to establish and direct the Office of European Affairs for Special Olympics International. In 1991, returned to Canada and served as a Special Consultant for Special Olympics Canada.
  • Appointed Citizenship Court Judge for Niagara, Hamilton and Kitchener by the Privy Council of Canada, 2000.
  • Honours include: Officer of the Order of Canada; Honourary and Permanent Member, Canadian Olympic Committee; Member of the Order of Ontario; Lad Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris; Maclean’s Honour Roll; St Colletta National Award (Chicago); Special Olympics Ontario Hall of Fame
  • Academic Honours: Honourary Doctor of Law degrees: McMaster University; St. Mary’s University; Calgary University; University of Toronto; University of Western Ontario. Alumni Community Service Award – University of Western Ontario. Distinguished Alumnus Award, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences – University of Illinois.
  • Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School established in 2013 by Halton Board of Education, Burlington, Ontario


  • Officer of the Order of Canada, Honourary and Permanent Member
  • Canadian Olympic Committee
  • Member of the Order of Ontario
  • La Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris
  • McLean’s Honour Roll
  • St. Colletta National Award (Chicago)
  • Special Olympics Ontario Hall of Fame