Quick Facts

  • Name: Perdita Felicien
  • DOB: August 29 1980 Oshawa, Ontario
  • Hometown: Pickering, Ontario
  • Height/Weight: 5’5, 140 lbs
  • College: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004)
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science-Kinesiology (Honours)
  • High School: Pine Ridge Secondary School



Perdita Felicien was born on August 29 1980 in Oshawa, Ontario. At age 7 Perdita and her family moved to Pickering, Ontario where she enrolled in Glengrove Public school, where gym teacher Mrs. Arthurs noticed her athleticism and encouraged her to try out for the track team. In elementary school Perdita excelled in the 100m, 200m and long jump, winning numerous regional competitions, but only started hurdling at age 14.

She hated it.

Perdita saw the hurdles as too much to think about while running, she preferred the uninterrupted sprint events that seemed less dangerous.

Going into high school Perdita quit track all together, afraid of losing, and scared of not achieving the same success she had at Glengrove.

Perdita’s mother, Cathy, was very scared of her daughter wasting her talent. Nearly every day for two years she prodded, urged and begged Perdita to return to track and field, hoping to see her daughter fulfill her potential. But what Cathy saw as encouragement, Perdita saw as an annoyance and she became even more reluctant to make a track comeback.

Then in grade ten Perdita was walking down the hallway at Pine Ridge Secondary School when track coach Pamela Masales cornered her. Masales who told Perdita she knew of all her elementary school accomplishments wanted her to try out for her team. In desperate need of a way to quiet her mother, Perdita showed up to the tryouts — reluctantly.

Perdita still hated the hurdles at first, but she loved the instant success she found in high school breaking provincial hurdle records and winning national junior titles. By age 19 she had earned a full scholarship to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she trained under renowned coach Gary Winckler. In four seasons at Illinois she won three NCAA titles and set several school, conference and NCAA records in the 60 metre and 100 metre hurdles.

Still training under Winckler, Perdita’s success continued as a professional. In 2003 she won gold in the 100 metre hurdles at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships, and in 2004 she won the IAAF World Indoor title. She has represented Canada at five World Championships and a pair of Olympic Games (2000 and 2004). Perdita missed the 2008 Olympics with injury, but attended the games as a member of the media, reporting track side for Canada’s host broadcaster CBC.

Perdita also excelled in the classroom earning Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-American distinctions while at Illinois. In 2004 Perdita graduated with honours with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology.

Perdita has three sisters and one brother; she credits her mother Cathy for her success by never letting her give up on her dream. Perdita enjoys reading, scrap booking, travelling and eating.