U of G Plays 'Role' in New Victor Davis Movie

January 09, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph plays a "supporting role" in a new CBC-TV movie airing this weekend about late Canadian swimming star Victor Davis.

Victor: His Name, His Mission tells the story of the Olympic gold medalist and Guelph native who died in 1989 at age 25 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. The two-hour movie will air Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.

The movie was written by former Gryphon swimmer and political science graduate Mark Lutz, who also plays the title role.

In addition, Alan Fairweather, supervisor of aquatics, recreation community service and camps in U of G's Department of Athletics, choreographed the movie's three main swimming scenes and recruited current Gryphons and alumni to play swimmer roles.

"A lot of University of Guelph people had a chance to tell his story to Canada and the rest of the world," said Fairweather.

Besides Lutz, U of G alumni in the biopic include Sean Sepulis, Glen Oomen, Jeff Sumner, Dan Lindquist and Stephanie Hatt. Current swimming Gryphons Scott Van Doormaal, Amanda Budd, Kristin Cloutier and Jon Pilon also appear.

"It was great having people who were part of Victor's life in the movie," said Lutz, who plans to throw a screening party for friends and colleagues in Toronto this weekend.

Coached by Fairweather as a Gryphon, Lutz attended Olympic trials in 1988 but a shoulder injury forced him to give up swimming. He followed a strict training and nutrition regimen to prepare for the title role in the movie.

Now living in Los Angeles, he has played numerous television roles, including appearances on ER and Friends.

Lutz said the movie shows Davis as a more rounded character than the brash, headstrong swimmer often portrayed by media as a "bad boy." At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Davis won a gold medal but was criticized for kicking a chair on deck after his relay team was disqualified.

Recalling his work on the movie in summer 2006, Fairweather said, "It was not long before I realized this was not a 'swimming movie.' This was a movie about a guy who had trials and tribulations — who worked through them and became the best swimmer in the world and then tragically died. I think people will see him in a different light."

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca

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