Olympic swimmer underwater in a pool swimming with arms stretched out and oxygen bubbles releasing from his mouth.
Co-Presented by One Yellow Rabbit and Wordfest


Mark Tewksbury


Calgary's hometown hero and Olympic gold medalist comes to shake things up and inspire at the High Performance Rodeo with an intimate staged reading. 


"Only the greatest fight for what they believe in, taking on people and institutions and closed minds because the battle is important. Few have done that more often, more successfully, and more importantly than Tewksbury."

—Toronto Star 


Belonging is not always a zero-sum game. It can require compromise. Be conditional. Even contradictory. 

Think about it. Belonging can mean Community. You are part of something; associated with; connected to. Belonging can also be Alienating. Exclusionary. Belonging depends on how you are classified or assigned.  If you belong to this, you cannot belong to that. Belonging can mean Ownership. To be the property of; owned by; the possession of.

And yet, belonging can also mean freedom and possibility. If I don’t belong there, I must belong somewhere.

So where do I belong?


"What's cool is when history happens in such little, tiny, incremental steps, sometimes you don't see it and it feels useless and hopeless. But when you have enough time — like 20 years — the steps start to add up and make some sense."

—Mark Tewksbury, CBC.ca


A riveting exploration of what it means to belong. A unique staged reading by our hometown Olympic hero, inspirational leader and world-renowned social justice activists. Mark Tewksbury’s involvement with different communities, from the Olympics and social justice activism, to business coaching and LGBTQ+ advocacy, gives him a unique perspective on what it means to truly belong.




Mark first came to prominence as a record-breaking backstroke swimmer. His 16-year athletic career includes 21 national titles; seven world records; Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals; numerous awards; and a cover appearance on TIME magazine.

While sporting achievements contributed to his early success, Mark’s life post-Olympics is what truly defines him. The author of three books, including Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock, Tewksbury was one of the first openly gay Olympic champions in the world.

Mark has been the Master of Ceremonies for the Dalai Lama’s Canadian appearances, was invited by the Government of France to address human rights at the United Nations in New York City, and was the Chef de mission for the 2012 Canadian Summer Olympics team. Mark is currently the Chair of Special Olympics Canada and is a Director for the Canadian Olympic Committee.


For Tickets, please follow the link above at BUY TICKETS, or Contact The WordFest Box Office at 403.237.9068



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