In the late 1970s, the participation by Manitoba students in track and field was low. There were few high- level coaches and athletics clubs available for students whose schools did not offer track and field or for athletes striving to reach higher levels of excellence than could be obtained within the school system. There were even fewer opportunities for athletes to compete during the indoor fall and winter seasons. More indoor track meets and a milieu that encouraged students to participate and excel in track and field were required.
In 1979, former track athletes Larry Switzer, Greg Hershman and Wayne McMahon, along with Jack Parrington, formed Assiniboia Optimist Track Club (AOTC) with support from the Assiniboia Optimists. Winnipeg and Manitoba needed a track and field club with highly qualified coaches, who were available year-round.
AOTC offered the opportunity for personalized coaching and more competitions. With funding from Boeing Canada, Larry, Wayne and Greg organized and ran the first Boeing Indoor Track Meet in 1981 in the Minto Armoury.
In 1995, the club name was changed to Winnipeg Optimist Athletics (WOA) to better reflect the wider- based support of our founding partner.