Mary Spencer was born in Wiarton, Ontario - a small town just outside of her family's First Nation in Cape Croker. When she was 6 years old she moved to Windsor, Ontario where she became active in sport. At 10, Mary dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player.
"Failure is determined by the things we allow to happen. Success is determined by the things we make happen".
Mary Spencer was born in Wiarton, Ontario - a small town just outside of her family's First Nation in Cape Croker (Chippewas of the Nawash). When she was 6 years old she moved to Windsor, Ontario where she became active in sport. At 10, Mary dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player.
For the next 7 years she played basketball for various Ontario Basketball Association teams, as well as the CanAm Indian Friendship Center's "Windsor Ruff Ryders". In 2002 Mary played for Team Ontario at the North American Indigenous Games in what would be her last tournament as a basketball player. It was at this time that she took up boxing. Mary realized that in order to be the best she had to do more than show an interest in the sport. She had to take care of her body and have the kind of conditioning that could carry her through the strenuous exercises that would make her a champion. In 2004, Mary won her first Canadian Championship and she hasn't looked back since.
In 2005 she competed for a World Championship in Russia where she eventually won gold and was named the Tournament's Best Boxer. In 2006 that gold medal turned to bronze but Mary reclaimed the gold at the next World Championships in China in 2008. Now an 8-time Canadian Champion, 4-time Pan-American Champion and 3-time World Champion, Mary has a new dream to chase.
In 2012, Spencer was the first Aboriginal female boxer to compete in the London Olympics, the first time that women’s boxing was included in the games. Despite not being victorious in London, the support Spencer received from family, friends and fans has helped to fuel her determination. She will compete in the 2015 Pan-Am Games to be held in Toronto and has her sights set on gold in Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Mary has been a GEN7 Messenger since 2009 and has engaged with more than 10 communities. Currently, she works with her home community Chippewas of the Nawash, Atikameksheng First Nation and Delaware Nation at Moraviantown, as well as providing training support and mentorship for newly recruited GEN7 Messengers and keynote speeches at Motivate Canada events. Mary was also an honoured recipient of an Indspire award in 2014 for her passion and inspiration towards Aboriginal youth.
Mary is grateful for the people in her life that helped her succeed in achieving her goals. They went out of their way to help her and from this she has learned that when you help someone, not only are you helping them; you are also helping yourself become a better person.
“I feel like there is a very good reason why I have the experiences that I do and that reason is so that I can share them with others,” says Mary. Mary knows what it takes and what it feels like to fulfil her dreams, and she is determined to inspire others by sharing her story, and motivating others to go for their dreams in her role as a Motivate Canada GEN7 Messenger.
- Vasilka Vidmar, Teacher, Vaughan Road Academy