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A Dream that has come to Fruition

Sep 3, 2022

Editor's Note: The following story is part of a series highlighting the members of the 2022 Washington State Athletic Hall of Fame Class. The Hall of Fame induction will take place, Sept. 16-17, at the Washington State University campus. The induction dinner will be held Sept. 16 at Beasley Coliseum with the 2022 class also being recognized at the Washington State-Colorado State football game at Gesa Field the following day. For ticket information on the induction dinner, please click HERE

When asked about joining her father in the Washington State Athletic Hall of Fame, Georgette Reed's grin extends as far as one of her discus tosses.

"You can't see me but that puts the biggest smile on my face," Reed said during a phone conversation. "I remember looking at his hall of fame picture and saying, 'One day I am going to be up here with you.'

"To finally have that come to fruition is wonderful."

George Reed left a legacy at WSU playing for the Cougar football team from 1959 to 1962 and then as one of the greatest players in the history of the Canadian Football League. 

In September, Reed's daughter, Georgette, will be joining him in the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame, becoming the Hall's first father-daughter duo.

From the pool to the track

Focused on water polo and swimming coming out of high school, Georgette had her sights set on Cal-Berkeley or UCLA.

But it was George who planted the seed to Georgette to attend WSU.

"I always wanted to follow in my father's footsteps," Georgette said. 

"I would have loved to play football but there were no women playing football," Georgette added with a laugh. "Dad said, 'Why don't you think about WSU?'"

While WSU did not have water polo, the school did feature swimming. When Georgette received an offer to swim at WSU the decision to come to Pullman was made.

"I realized that WSU was a great school and really wanted to get my degree there," she said.

But a shoulder injury derailed Georgette's pursuits in the pool and left her searching for what to do next.

"A friend said, 'Why don't you try track and field?'" Georgette said.

Deciding to give it a try, Georgette walked on to the team, focusing on shot put and discus.

She remembered how welcomed to the team she was and immediately gained a mentor with fellow WSU Athletic Hall of Fame member Laura Lavine.

"Laura was a great role model because of her success and throwing abilities," Georgette said. "I learned as much as I could about throwing and the sport. I had my dad's determination and I wouldn't quit."

"One day I discovered rotational shot put, it wasn't something at the time many men or women were doing, and I started playing with that," Georgette said. "I loved the discus, I loved the footwork and all that was included with that. It was fun for me and intriguing for me to figure out how do that same technique for the shot.

"Then everything clicked and started taking off for me," Georgette added. "Little by little I picked it up."

Georgette picked it up so well that it propelled her to a record-setting career at WSU, becoming a two-time All-American in the shot put, finishing fifth at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor championships as a senior, remaining the school-record holder in the event.

After WSU, Georgette continued to excel, becoming a 17-time Canadian National shot put champion and two-time discuss champion. She competed as a member of Team Canada at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain and also represented Canada at the 2001 World Athletics Championships in Edmonton and the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C.

Embracing challenges off the track

After track and field Georgette continued to seek challenges. She competed in the bobsleigh, just missing out on a spot for the Olympic team, was the head coach of the Cross Country and Track and Field team at the University of Alberta, and enjoyed a 10-year career at the City of Edmonton, including as the Health and Wellness Coordinator with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services. Currently, she is the Director of Athletics at Capilano University in in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

Does she ever think about what life would have been like if not for the shoulder injury that derailed her swimming career?

"I often think about that," Georgette said. "Everything happens for a reason, and I often try to make sure I don't judge anything that happens to me at the time, I give it some time and reflect about on it later. 

"If I took the shoulder injury as the most devastating thing that ever happened in my life and slumped off and not pursued something new, I wouldn't be where I am today."

With Reed part of the all-female Hall of Fame class in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, she does not lose sight of the opportunities provided to her.

"Without Title IX I would have had the career that I had or the opportunities that I had," Georgette said.

Following in her father's footsteps and creating her own path

On Sept. 16, Reed's accomplishments culminates with her induction to the Hall of Fame.

"I tried to do my very best and the best with what I had." Georgette said. "To be recognized for that in Washington State sports history is wonderful."

"Washington State played a huge role in my athletic success," continued Georgette. "I do not believe I would have been involved in track and field if I hadn't been at Washington State. The opportunity to learn something new and become pretty good at it is a dream and to be recognized for that dream is an honor."

And part of that dream is to join her father in the Hall of Fame.

"I am so proud to know that dad and me will be a father-daughter duo in the hall of fame," said Georgette. "All of those trips to look at his picture in the hall of fame and to know I get to join him is a dream that has come to fruition."