This week in Canadian History – December Week 5

Logo of the campaign.
Logo of the campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Winter Olympic Games are soon upon us. February 7 to 23, 2014 to be exact.  There is much controversy, but I’m not going to write about that. I want instead to concentrate on the athletes. The real heroes.

Today, I want to discuss some top moments for Canadian athletes.

Breaking the drought: In 1992, Kerrin Lee Gartner won a Canadian gold, ending the medal for skier drought since Kathy Kreiner in 1976. Kerrin is a skier of Rossland, British Columbia. “I just pushed out of the gate and was as aggressive as I could be,” Lee-Gartner said after the race. “About two years ago I had a dream in French. Someone told me I had a medaille d’or (gold medal). I had no idea what it meant so maybe this explains it.” While there was some negative publicity — French media mocked her victory as a fluke — Lee-Gartner became a media darling.

First Gold on Canadian Soil: Alex Bilodeau, freestyle skier from Quebec, was the first to win a medal on Canadian soil in 2010. Well, sort of. Dale Begg-Smith of West Vancouver moved to Australia in 2001. Technically he was the first Canadian to win a gold on Canadian soil, but it was in the name of Australia. In 2010, Begg-Smith skied in first place with a score of 26.58. Next, Bryon Wilson of the United States, finished at 26.08. Bilodeau did his best, and knocked everyone off the podium with a final score of 26.75! “I don’t believe it yet,” Bilodeau said after his win. “It’s been a dream since I was a little kid, and it’s come true. I can’t think. It’s too good to be true.”

Elvis Redefined Men’s Figure Skating: I have to admit that before Elvis Stojko, I didn’t really watch men’s figure skating. But he has certainly made the sport very interesting! In 1998, he suffered a “fever and chills flu” (several hundred athletes in the Olympic Village also had it). He landed eight triple jumps and won the silver medal. On that day, the coach, Doug Leigh, was at a loss for words to describe the awe in which he held Stojko, who hobbled to the medals podium in running shoes after his free skate and then was whisked off for medical treatment. If you haven’t seen Elvis perform, you are missing out on a magical and experience!

Canadian Curling Champions:  Also in 1998, Curling became a recognized sport in winter olympics.  And wouldn’t you it, but the “Saskatchewan foursome” won the gold.  The team consists of Schmirler, third Jan Betker, second Joan McCusker and lead Marsha Gudereit.  Two years later, nine months after the birth of her second child, Schmirler died of cancer at age 36.

For these and more stories, go to Postmedia 2014 Winter Olympic Games.


  1. Several rounds ago, I tired of the USA coverage of the Olympics (summer & winter). Too my hype of how many medals WE got. Too many human-interest stories. Not enough sports. A couple of decades ago, I happen to be in London during time of the winter Olympics. They had 30 minutes of coverage per day on the BBC. I think 25 of it was curling! Swish, swish, swich, ooooooooo (hush).


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