Gerry Ouellette was a much-decorated marksman who frequently represented Canada at international shooting competitions. He is the only athlete from Windsor and Essex County to ever win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Born in Windsor on August 14, 1934, Ouellette attended W. D. Lowe High School, where he benefited greatly from the instruction of Major Wyn Jennings. Major Jennings gave Ouellette, then a grade nine cadet representing his school, some early intensive instruction on the rifle ranges at Camp Ipperwash in Lambton County. Ouellette went on to win Canadian Junior and Cadet Service Rifle Titles in 1951.
As a schoolboy, Ouellette represented W. D. Lowe four times at the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association Championships, winning the General Otter Trophy as Canadian Full Bore Champion.
After his high school graduation, Ouellette travelled annually to Ottawa to qualify for the British Bisley Games in England, one of his sport’s most prestigious competitions. Although this entailed competing against 500 to 600 elite Canadian shooters, Ouellette qualified 15 separate times.
Today, Ouellette is the yardstick against which every Canadian shooter measures his or her performance. In his 15 Bisley Games, Ouellette finished in the top 25 on all but three occasions. He reached eight Queen’s Finals, won three Bisley Aggregate Titles, and four Canadian MacDonald Stewart Grand Aggregate Titles.
In 1956, Ouellette made Canadian history at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. Ouellette shot a perfect 600 to defeat Vaili Borisov of the Soviet Union to win gold in the small-bore prone event.
Ouellette accumulated several further honours throughout his storied shooting career. In 1957, he won the National Service Pistol Title, and he placed seventh at the World Masters in 1958.
Ouellette competed in several Pan-American Games, winning multiple medals. He won silver in 1957, a gold and two silvers in 1959, and a final silver in 1967.
He competed in a second Olympic Games in 1968, in Mexico City, where he finished sixth.
In 1971, late in his career, Ouellette and his wife Judy became the first husband-and-wife team to represent Canada at Bisley.
Ouellette is in enshrined in the Canadian Forces and Canadian Amateur Sports Halls of Fame. He received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal in 1952, and Canada Post honoured him with a limited-issue commemorative postage stamp in 1996.
Sadly, Gerry Ouellette passed away in a plane crash on June 25, 1975. He was 40 years old.