Coach Lenke Szathmary dies at 92
April 12th 2013
The Canadian women’s gymnastics world has lost one of its pioneers. Lenke Szathmary (Legany) has died at the age of 92. She was for many years the gymnastics coach at St. Catharines Collegiate.
Born in Hungary, Lenke Szathmary, survived the challenges of what turned out to be a 6-year sojourn in a German DP camp before she was able to emigrate to Canada in 1951. She made Welland her home. After working on a farm and then in a factory on a sewing machine, Szathmary eventually managed to have her Hungarian credentials recognized. This enabled her to do what she enjoyed most: teach physical education. She spent the next 24 years at St. Catharines Collegiate, coaching girls in various individual and team sports and helping them to train competitively, especially in gymnastics. In addition to coaching and training she also served as judge for local, provincial, national, and even international gymnastic competitions. When she eventually retired in 1986, Szathmary was made a lifetime member of Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique.
Jennifer Pellegrini trained as a gymnast with Szathmary at St Catharines. On the International Gymnast Magazine website she recalls, “When any of 'her girls' seemed to be drifting down a wayward path, there was a conversation about it in her office. How she knew things, I'll never know. But she knew."