As Hardy Fink took the stage to accept the 2019 International Order of Merit, he said, “I am so delighted to be in this beautiful city and state of Oklahoma for the first time in my life. I thank the board of directors for giving me this super honor. It’s very much appreciated, more than I can say.”
In a variety of roles as an athlete, coach, administrator, judge, and educator, Hardy Fink has demonstrated a life-long commitment to the quality, development and growth of gymnastics around the world.
Born in Canada on May 8, 1947, Hardy actually began gymnastics on his 16th BDay at the Hamilton Germania Gymnastics Club.
After finishing in 8th place in the 1969 Canadian nationals, he earned the right to represent Canada in international competition.
Even while he was competing, Hardy began demonstrating his leadership skills as he also became the head coach, the vice-president, and publicity chairman of his gymnastics club.
In the mid-1970’s Hardy and his wife, Cynthia, established the Port Alberni Gymnastics Academy (PAGA) using a business model that has served as the prototype, both as facility and as business, for similar gyms that exist everywhere today.
Beginning in 1988, Hardy served as the Canadian men’s national team coach and high-performance director for 10 years, which resulted in a period of unprecedented success for Canadian gymnastics.
At the young age of 21, Hardy became the youngest judge ever to earn an international judging brevet for men’s gymnastics. Over the last five decades, Hardy has judged at 35 Major International competitions, including eight Olympic Games, and 20 World Championships.
After judging controversies at the 2004 Athens Olympics, the reliability of the existing judging system was brought into question. Hardy, who had long advocated for a more objective and effective tool for judging the sport, helped institute an open-ended code of points.
In 2005, Hardy began focusing his talents toward building and teaching a worldwide coach’s curriculum.
As the Director of Education and Academy Programs for the FIG, Hardy’s courses have been presented in over 484 seminars, to 8000 different coaches from 139 countries. His Age Group Development and Competition Programs serve as a “recipe” for the many dozens of gymnastics federations that do not have the resources or expertise to develop their own.
A lifetime advocate for fitness, as well as avid outdoorsman, Hardy enjoys the many benefits of living on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He has also maintained superb gymnastics fitness which helped him compete successfully in the 2018 German Gymnastics Festival in Berlin at the young age of 70!
Hardy and Cynthia are proud to dedicate much of their time these days to their family, which includes their two daughters and 5 grandchildren.
For his lifetime of service to the betterment of gymnastics Hardy Fink is recognized by the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame as the 2019 International Order of Merit honoree.