top of page
  • BCWA

In Memoriam George Richey

In Memoriam

Submitted by Ian McDonald, with approval from the Richey family.

George Richey (Oct. 25,1950 - Nov. 15, 2021)

George Richey passed away on Monday, November 15, 2021, in Gibsons, BC. A physical force of nature, he had just finished doing one of his favourite things: working out.

George was born and bred in El Paso, Texas. His father, Harold, was an officer in the US army, eventually stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington State. When Colonel Richey decided to retire in 1968, the whole family was relocated in order to live in one of their Mom’s (Jean) favourite towns: Victoria, BC. George had wrestled in high school in El Paso, so took it up again with his brother, Mike, under the remarkable tutelage of Coach Ed Ashmore at the Victoria YMCA.*

George also played football, but wrestling became his sport of choice. Yet it was much more than that; George simply loved wrestling! He was a BC high school wrestling champion in 1969, then went to Green River College in Auburn, Washington State, to pursue his passion. After a year in the Evergreen State he transferred to UBC to wrestle under the watchful eye of future BC Sports Hall of Fame coach, Paul Nemeth, followed by Bob Laycoe.

While pursuing his studies, George was a three-time Canadian University (CIAU) champion, in 1973, 1974, and 1975, all at 198 pounds. A spot on the National Team and a trip to the 1974 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, ensued. Entered in the 90 kg. weight class and as the luck-of-the-draw would fate him, George’s first match was against five-time World Champion (and two-time Olympic Champion), Levan Tediashvili. George claimed that he caught the highly-touted Soviet (Georgian) off-guard in the early going, threw his unsuspecting opponent to his back, and actually had him pinned. But the story goes that the referee was wrongly positioned and couldn’t see the shoulder blades. The inevitable quickly followed: Levan Tediashvili bridged off his back, then mercilessly proceeded to rack up the points against the outmatched, yet audacious Canadian representative. George ended up finishing sixth. In 1975 he was the National Senior Open Champion, winning the Freestyle title and coming second in the Greco-roman division. As a consequence he was also voted the winner of the prestigious Outstanding Wrestler award of the tournament. It was to be his best result.