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Book Launch | Valerie Jerome on RACES

valerie jerome portrait with event title, date and time
Open to All KPE Students
Open to Alumni
Open to U of T community
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Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto ON M5S 1J5

book cover of racesJoin the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) on Wednesday, February 28th for a Black History Month event featuring Valerie Jerome and her new book, Races: The Trials & Triumphs of Canada's Fastest Family. The Jerome family's impressive list of athletic accomplishments should be a source of national pride. Valerie's grandfather, John "Army" Howard, became Canada's first Black Olympian in 1932. Her brother, Harry Jerome, was an Olympic medalist and world record holder who at one point was known as the world's fastest man. Despite their stunning athletic accomplishments, the family's story best represents the under-discussed intersection of race and athletics in Canada.

In a discussion with Bruce Kidd, Ombudsperson and Professor Emeritus of Sport & Public Policy at KPE, Valerie will touch on her family's inspiring story, the racism they faced as Black athletes in Canada, and what propelled her through life and on the track.

This event will take place in-person at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a mix-and-mingle session followed by the featured discussion between Valerie and Bruce.

After the discussion, Valerie will be available to sign copies of her book. The U of T Bookstore will be on-site throughout the event selling copies of Races, while quantities last.

There is no cost to attend, provided you RSVP.

Speaker Bios


valerie jerome

Valerie Jerome is an activist, speaker, teacher, politician and athlete from Vancouver. The granddaughter of Canada’s first Black Olympian, John “Army” Howard, Jerome became the Canadian senior women’s champion in the sprints and long jump at the age of 15 in 1959. She went on to represent Canada at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, and the Pan American Games (where she won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay), competing alongside her brother Harry Jerome.

Away from the track, Jerome has represented the Green Party of British Columbia and is a recipient of the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and for a City of Vancouver Heritage Award for her work in conservation. She has also served as a board member for numerous organizations — including Achilles Track & Field, the Junior Black Achievement Awards, and several dance companies — and spoken in schools and at community events for Black History Month. Races is her first book.


bruce kidd portrait

Bruce Kidd is the Ombudsperson and a Professor Emeritus of Sport & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. 

He was the founding dean (1988-2010) of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (1998-2010) and has served in many roles across the University, including Vice President and Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough (2014-2018), Warden of Hart House (2011-2015) and a member of Governing Council (2016-2018).

Bruce teaches and writes about the history and political economy of Canadian and Olympic sport. He has authored or edited 14 books and hundreds of articles, papers, lectures, plays and film and radio scripts.  The Struggle for Canadian Sport (University of Toronto Press 1996), which recaptures the efforts of sport leaders in Canada in the period between the First and Second World War, won the Book Prize of the North American Society for Sport History in 1997. His most recent book, co-written with Ann Hall and Patricia Vertinsky, is Educating the Body: A History of Physical Education in Canada (University of Toronto Press 2024). His memoir, A runner’s journey, was published by UTP in September 2021.

As an athlete, Bruce was Commonwealth champion in the 6 miles at the 1962 Games in Perth, Australia. Twice elected Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year by Canadian Press (1961 and 1962), he is a member of the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame, Athletics Ontario Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (as both an athlete and a builder), the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame and the Toronto Sport Hall of Honour. In 2005, he was awarded the Canadian Olympic Order. In 2006, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Commonwealth Sports Awards Foundation. In 2004, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.