During his lifetime Arthur Belyea was known as a skilled athlete in both speed skating and rowing, and possessed numerous awards to back up his reputation. At the age of 17, however, he nearly died after a bicycle accident and thus had to overcome his injuries in order to participate in sport. He won his first rowing championship, the Maritime Junior Championship, in 1905, followed by the St. John’s Harbor Championships in 1906. He planned to attend the 1908 Summer Olympics, but his amateur status was revoked in 1907 after he allegedly accepted money for a speed skating tour, and it was not restored until 1909. He set a world record in the 1.5 mile single sculls event at the 1921 New England Single Scull Championship with a time of 9:36, beating the previous mark set by Olympic gold medalist Frank Greer. He also took the event at the 1921 and 1922 Canadian Championships. By 1924 he looked to be a strong contender in the single sculls event at the year’s Summer Olympic Games in Paris, but contracted neuritis in his hip while training in England shortly prior to the tournament. He did not perform well with his condition, but the French government granted him a scroll and an honorary Olympic bronze medal for his sportsmanship (the official bronze medal went to Josef Schneider of Switzerland).
The owner of the Carleton Skating Rink in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Belyea was equally successful in his speed skating career, winning both the St John’s City and Maritime Skating Championships in 1920. He set another record, this time in the one mile speed skating event, in 1909 with a time of 2:52.45, which was broken five years later by future Olympic bronze medalist Willy Logan. He lived in the United States later in life and died in Albany, New York in 1968, where his family had moved forty years earlier. He was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1971.