Canada at the Winter Olympic Games

The idea of including winter sports in the Olympic Games dates back to 1900, when organizers planned to include figure skating as part osalef the 1900 Games in Paris.
The idea of including winter sports in the Olympic Games dates back to 1900, when organizers planned to include figure skating as part osalef the 1900 Games in Paris.

The idea of including winter sports in the Olympic Games dates back to 1900, when organizers planned to include figure skating as part osalef the 1900 Games in Paris. It did not happen then but figure skating exhibitions were held in October 1908 at the London summer games, won by Swedish skater Ulrich Salchow, originator of the jump that now bears his name. In 1911 an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member failed to persuade the Swedes to include winter sports in the Stockholm Games. The Swedes saw the idea as a threat to their own Nordic Games and rejected it. The Nordic Games dated back to 1901 and were held at different intervals until 1926. They were pretty much a Swedish affair as only one event was hosted outside Sweden (in Oslo). Finally Nordic Games originator Viktor Gustav Balck himself successfully lobbied the IOC to include figure skating events in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.

Figure skating and ice hockey (won by the Winnipeg Falcons) were both included in the summer Olympics held in Antwerp in 1920, though they were staged 10 weeks before the regular events, in the Antwerp ice palace.

1924 Winter Olympic Games: Chamonix, France (January 25-February 5)

Finally, in 1921, over the objections of the founder of the modern Olympic movement Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who considered winter sports to be too closely associated with the upper classes, the IOC agreed to stage a separate "International Sports Week” during the winter in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The small town already had a ski jump and organizers added a bobsled run and ice stadium in the valley and ski trails. Of the 258 athletes from 16 nations who competed, 245 were men and 13 were women. These Games were a great success and were retroactively named the first Olympic Winter Games.

Toronto Granite Club, 1924 Winter Olympic Games
On 8 Feb 1924 the Toronto Granite Club won the first official Olympic gold medal in ice hockey at Chamonix. Here, the team poses with the Swiss players following the final match (courtesy IOC Olympic Museum).

The first Winter Olympic gold medal was awarded to Charles Jewtraw of Lake Placid, New York, for the men's 500-m speed skating event. Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie made her debut at the age of 11. An accomplished ballerina, Henie introduced a new style of skating to the event that caught the attention of many judges and spectators. The Canadian ice-hockey team, comprised of Granite Club players from Toronto, won all 5 of its matches, outscoring its opponents 110 to 3. The closest contest was the gold-medal game, in which Canada defeated the United States 6-1.

Canada's Rank: 9th
Gold: Men's Hockey (demonstration)

1928 Winter Olympic Games: St Moritz, Switzerland (February 11- February 19)

The 1928 Winter Olympic Games at St Moritz, Switzerland, were the first to be held in a different country from the summer games (held in Amsterdam). Not for the last time, the Olympic site was blighted by rain and unseasonably warm weather. A third of the competitors in the 50-km cross-country ski race quit in frustration over a course mired in slush. Skeleton, a luge-like event in which an athlete rides a sled down the course head-first, was first introduced. Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie, now aged 15, was the sensation, winning gold.

Canada was represented in ice hockey by the University of Toronto Grads. It was in fact a formidable team, having won the Allan Cup and being coached in Canada (though not at the Olympics) by Conn Smythe. The tournament organizers tried to arrange the tournament to provide some challenge to the Canadians, but the Grads still steamrolled the Swedes 11-0, Great Britain 14-0 and the host Swiss 13-0. After their gold medal performance the team toured Europe, introducing large crowds to their speedy play.

Canada's Rank: 6th
Gold: Men's Hockey

1932: Winter Olympic Games: Lake Placid, New York (February 4- February 15)

The first Olympics to be held outside Europe were opened at Lake Placid by then Governor of New York Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the future president of the United States. Sonja Henie defended her figure skating title. These Games marked a strong improvement by Canadian athletes as they came away with 13 performances in the top 6. Three Canadian speed skaters won a total of five medals and Montgomery Wilson took bronze in the men's figure skating. Rules for speed skating were altered dramatically to benefit North American skaters and the great champion Clas Thunberg of Finland refused to even make the trip. While the Americans spent extravagantly on a new stadium and other facilities, they neglected others, such as the cross-country course, where skiers got lost skiing through the woods on ill-marked courses. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, sled-dog racing was included in the schedule of demonstration events. Canada and the United States competed.

Winnipeg Hockey Club. For the first time Canada?s hockey team faced serious competition at the Olympics, ultimately playing two scoreless overtime periods in a final game against the US on 13 Feb 1932. To end the stalemate, officials chose to declare a tie and award the gold to the team that had won the earlier round-robin game, Canada (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

Only 4 teams competed in ice hockey: Canada, the United States, Poland and Germany. The Winnipeg Hockey Club represented Canada. The Americans proved a tough opponent and were ahead deep into the third period of the deciding game until Romeo Rivers scored the tying goal, to the great relief "of nine million Canadians” as The Winnipeg Free Press reported. At the end of the third overtime the officials called a halt to the game and awarded the gold to Canada on the basis of a previous narrow victory over the Americans.

Canada's Rank: 3rd
Gold: Men's Hockey
Silver: Alexander Hurd, 1500-m speed skating
Bronze: Montgomery Wilson, figure skating; Frank Stack, 10 000-m speed skating; William Logan, 1500-m and 5000-m speed skating; and Alexander Hurd, 500-m speed skating

1936 Winter Olympic Games: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (February 6-February 16)

The Olympic flame first burned at the 1936 Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps, near the Austrian border. Some 500 000 spectators were bused to the events on the final day. Alpine events were held for the first time. Attempts to organize a world-wide boycott against the Nazi government failed and the Games went on. These Games also marked the beginning of a decades-long dispute on where to draw the line between eligible amateurs and professionals. The Austrians and Swiss boycotted the alpine events after their best skiers (who earned livings as ski instructors) were disqualified for being professionals.

Canadian skier Diana Gordon-Lennox struck a brave pose as she skied the course with one arm in a cast and only one pole (she finished 29th).

Canada had some difficulty mustering a hockey team as most of the Allan Cup champion Halifax Wolves had turned professional. The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) organizers decided to send the runner-up Port Arthur Bear Cats but allowed 2 Canadian players, goalie James Foster and forward Alex Archer, to play for Great Britain, a team that already had many players who had been born in Britain but who had learned the game in Canada. The Canadians would regret this magnanimity when Foster stoned the Canadians in the first round. The Bear Cats were denied the opportunity to revenge the loss when Olympic organizers changed the format, meaning the one loss would give Great Britain the gold medal. Outraged Canadian official P.J. Mulqueen called it "one of the worst manipulations in sporting history.”

Canada's Rank: 9th
Silver: Men's Hockey

1948: Winter Olympic Games: St Moritz, Switzerland (January 30-February 8)

Germany and Japan were barred from competing in the first Games held after the Second World War, again at St Moritz. For Canada the Games belonged to 19- year-old Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, who inherited Henie's crown as Olympic champion. On February 6, the biggest crowd since the 5th Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony packed the bleachers and perched on terraced cliffs to see Scott add the last great title to her skating honours. Skating on a surface chewed up by the hockey players, Scott won 7 of the 9 first-place votes and became the first North American woman to win gold in figure skating. In men's figure skating, American Dick Button performed the first double Axel in competition.

Barbara Ann Scott
Barbara Ann Scott won Canada's first gold medal in figure skating at St Moritz on 6 Feb 1948 and became a national hero. (courtesy Canada's Sports Hall of Fame/X981.725.1.3).

Still smarting from its dispute with the IHF over the 1936 fiasco, Canada did not have a hockey team until just 100 days before the start of the Games. Finally the Royal Canadian Air Force volunteered their team. The RCAF were not the favourites, but they prevailed over all, except the Czechs who held them to a 0-0 tie. In a final game against the home-town Swiss, even the local fans booed the biased refereeing. The ice conditions and the refereeing were so bad that at times the game threatened to develop into a farce. Nevertheless Canada survived, won the game 3-0 and took gold.

Canada's Rank: 8th
Gold: Barbara Ann Scott, figure skating; Men's Hockey
Bronze: Suzanne Morrow Francis and Wallace Diestelmeyer, figure skating pairs

1952: Winter Olympic Games: Oslo, Norway (February 14-February 25)

In the Games' return to Norway, the Olympic flame was ignited at Morgedal in the fireplace of skier Sondre Norheim, who is credited with the invention of the modern ski binding, and was conveyed by skiers to Oslo. Norwegian speed skater Hjallis Andersen was the star of these Games with 3 gold medals. It was first time that cross-country ski events were held for women.

In hockey Canada was represented by the Edmonton Mercurys, who had won the world ice hockey championship in 1950. The Mercs won the first 3 games by a combined score of 39-4, but were challenged by the Czechs and the Swedes. A 3-3 tie with the United States (who had lost to Sweden) was good enough for gold. It was the end of the era of Canadian dominance in amateur hockey. The Canadians would not win hockey Olympic gold again for 50 years.

Edmonton Mercurys
The Edmonton Mercurys won the gold medal in hockey at the Winter Olympic Games in Oslo on 24 Feb 1952. The final game was a 3-3 tie against the US.

Canada's Rank: 9th
Gold: Men's Hockey
Bronze: Gordon Audley, 500-m speed skating

1956 Winter Olympic Games: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy (January 26- February 5)

The 1956 Cortina Games were the first to be partially televised. They were also the first Games to be heavily subsidized by sponsors providing "official” products, such as Fiat automobiles. They also marked the dramatic appearance of a team from the Soviet Union. The Soviets came prepared as their speed skaters won 3 of the 4 events and the Soviet team finished first in the medals. Lucile Wheeler won Canada's first skiing medal with a bronze in the downhill race. Competition persevered despite lack of snow early in the Games, a later storm and then a major thaw.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen breezed through their preliminary round in the hockey competition but lost 4-1 in the medal round to the US. CBC broadcaster Thom Benson likened the atmosphere after the loss to a funeral. On 5 February, the Canadians were cut down by the Soviets 2-0 and had to settle for bronze. Hence began a long complaint about the hypocritical rules that barred Canadian professionals but overlooked the government support of Soviet players.

Canada's Rank: 9th
Silver: Norris Robert Bowden and Frances Dafoe, figure skating pairs
Bronze: Men's Hockey; Lucile Wheeler, downhill skiing

1960 Winter Olympic Games: Squaw Valley, California (February 18- February 28)

Squaw Valley, California, won the bid for the 1960 Games despite the fact that it barely existed. The area went on a binge of construction over the next few years, building hotels, bridges, the first Olympic village, ski lifts and the first skating track with refrigeration. The organizers, however, refused to build a bobsled run, leaving these Games as the only ones not to include the sport.

Ann Heggtveit
Skier Anne Heggtveit won the Olympic gold medal in slalom at Squaw Valley on 26 Feb 1960, edging out US skier Betsy Snite in just under three seconds. (courtesy Canada Sports Hall of Fame/ X981.62.1.25).

These were the first Games to use a computer to process results. Biathlon was added for the first time, as was women's speed skating. The flawless gold medal performance in pairs figure skating by Robert Paul and Barbara Wagner was highlighted by a breathtaking "death spiral” that won first-place votes from every judge. Anne Heggtveit finished well ahead of her rivals to become the first Canadian to win gold in skiing. In ice hockey, the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen returned and despite beating the Soviets lost the opportunity for gold in a previous 2-1 defeat by the Americans.

Canada's Rank: 8th
Gold: Robert Paul and Barbara Wagner, figure skating pairs; Anne Heggtveit, slalom
Silver: Men's Hockey
Bronze: Donald Jackson, figure skating

1964 Winter Olympic Games: Innsbruck, Austria (January 29-February 9)

The 1964 Games at Innsbruck, Austria, were threatened by a serious lack of snow. The Austrian army was pressed into service, carving out 20 000 ice blocks from a mountain and moving them to the bobsled and luge runs. Some 40 000 cubic metres of snow had to be carted to the site of the alpine skiing events. The debut of luge at the Olympics was also marred by the unfortunate death of a British athlete in a practice run. Soviet speed skater Lydia Skoblikova became the first athlete to win 4 gold medals at a single Winter Olympic Games. In figure skating the pair of Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov won the first of successive pairs titles, inaugurating a Soviet (or Russian) dominance of that event that continues to this day. The Canadian 4-man team won gold the first time that they competed in the bobsleigh competition, setting a course record on their first run.

In hockey the CAHA changed its approach and organized an Olympic Hockey Team from the best university and senior players. In a medal round game against the Czechs, Canada was leading 1-0 when goalie Seth Martin was injured. The Czechs put 3 goals past his replacement, went on to lose to the Soviets and reduced the Canadians to a 4th-place finish. Canada's Rank: 10th
Gold: Doug Anakin, John Emery, Victor Emery and Peter Kirby, 4-man bobsleigh
Bronze: Petra Burka, figure skating; Guy Revell and Debbi Wilkes, figure skating pairs

1968 Winter Olympic Games: Grenoble, France (February 6-February 18)

President Charles de Gaulle, a hatless figure towering above the crowd, opened the 10th Winter Olympic Games with the briefest of speeches ("I proclaim the opening of the 10th Winter Olympic Games at Grenoble."). In these dispersed Games, only the ice skating competition was held at Grenoble, with the other events farmed out to other villages up to 65 km away. The Games belonged to Jean-Claude Killy, who swept the men's alpine events. The victory was not without controversy as Killy's rival in one event was disqualified for missing gates when he saw a shadowy figure cross the slalom course. These were the first Games to include drug test and gender tests. No one failed.

Nancy Greene
Nancy Greene won the Olympic gold medal in the giant slalom at Grenoble on 15 Feb 1968 by a wide margin of 2.64 seconds. She had won another medal, a silver, in the slalom earlier in the Games (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

For Canada, Nancy Greene improved on her 2 previous Olympic finishes with gold in the giant slalom and silver in the slalom. She swept down the 1610-metre, 68-gate Chamrousse course in 1:51.97 to win by an incredible 2.64 seconds.

The Canadian amateur hockey team lost to the Soviets and Finland and finished with bronze. Canada's perceived fall from grace in hockey prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to commission a study on the gap that was opening between Canadian and international hockey-this despite the obvious explanation that Canada's best players were all professional and did not qualify for the Olympics.

Canada's Rank: 14th
Gold: Nancy Greene, giant slalom
Silver: Nancy Greene, slalom
Bronze: Men's Hockey

1972 Winter Olympic Games: Sapporo, Japan (February 3-February 13)

The 1972 Games were the first to be held outside Europe or North America. The enduring controversy over professionalism ignited before the Games as IOC president Avery Brundage banned Austrian ski superstar Karl Schranz because he had accepted money from sponsors. Meanwhile Brundage refused to apply the same standards to hockey players from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Canada refused to take part in the hockey competition to protest this continued hypocrisy of the eligibility rules. The Japanese ski jumping team won that country's first-ever gold medals, led by new national hero Yukio Kasaya. Canada earned a single medal, a silver by Karen Magnussen in figure skating.

Canada's Rank: 17th
Silver: Karen Magnussen, figure skating

1976 Winter Olympic Games: Innsbruck, Austria (February 4-February 15)

In 1976 the Winter Olympics were awarded to Denver, Colorado (to celebrate the American bicentennial), but in an unprecedented move the voters of Denver decided against the use of public funds for the Games. The Games were moved back to Innsbruck, Austria, which had maintained most of its facilities from the successful 1964 Winter Olympic Games. The Games were plagued by the vicissitudes of weather and a flu epidemic among the athletes. Eight-time Olympic medalist Galina Kulakova of the Soviet Union was disqualified from a race because she had used a nasal spray to fight off a cold.

Kathy Kreiner

Canada's Kathy Kreiner won the giant slalom, a few hundredths of a second ahead of the great Rosi Mittermaier of Germany. The ice-dancing competition was held for the first time. Canada again boycotted the hockey competition, which was won by an increasingly proficient Soviet team.

Canada's Rank: 11th
Gold: Kathy Kreiner, giant slalom
Silver: Catherine Priestner, 500-m speed skating
Bronze: Toller Cranston, figure skating

1980 Winter Olympic Games: Lake Placid, New York February 13- February 24

The 1980 Games in Lake Placid were an organizational disaster, with spectators stranded in the freezing weather when bus service failed, but they were a triumph for the home team. Eric Heiden won all 5 speed-skating events and the American hockey team, seeded 7th, won its "miracle on ice” by defeating the heavily favoured Soviet team and going on to win the gold medal. The Canadian team finished 6th. Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, the most prolific World Cup winner in skiing history, won both the slalom and giant slalom. Highlights for Canada included a bronze in downhill by Steve Podborski and silver by Gaëtan Boucher in speed skating.

Canada's Rank: 13th
Silver: Gaëtan Boucher, 1000-m speed skating
Bronze: Steve Podborski, downhill

1984 Winter Olympic Games: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (February 8-February 19)

The only time the Games were held in a socialist country took place in 1984, when they were hosted in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The highlight was generally held to be the free-dance "Bolero” performance of the English ice dancers Torvil and Dean, who received 12 perfect scores. But the Games also saw a silver medal for the home country by skier Jure Franko in the giant slalom. By 1992 fighting during the civil war had reduced the Olympic site to ruin.

Gaetan Boucher
On 14 Feb 1984 speed skater Gaëtan Boucher won the first of two gold medals, in the 1000 m, at the Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia. He won the second of two gold medals, in the 1500 m, on 16 Feb. (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

For Canada, Brian Orser won a silver medal, the best-ever showing by a Canadian male figure skater. Gaëtan Boucher turned in Canada's finest winter Olympic performance with 2 gold medals and a bronze in speed skating. Canada's Rank: 9th
Gold: Gaëtan Boucher, 1000-m speed skating and 1500-m speed skating
Silver: Brian Orser, figure skating
Bronze: Gaëtan Boucher, 500-m speed skating

1988 Winter Olympic Games: Calgary, Alberta (February 13-February 28)

The 1988 Calgary Olympics were popular among the athletes and spectators, though there were poor conditions at some of the venues. These Games were significantly expanded as alpine events added the super giant slalom (Super-G) and alpine combined. Nordic combined and ski jumping received their own team competitions. As at the Montreal Summer Olympics, Canada failed to win gold on its home turf, although the Canadian team finished with a record 19 top-eight finishes. The most deeply felt disappointment came when figure skater Brian Orser narrowly lost gold to American rival Brian Boitano. "I didn't win a gold medal in Canada at the Olympic Games,” said Orser, who wept as he stepped atop the podium. Elizabeth Manley also won silver in figure skating, with a brilliant freestyle performance that included 5 triple jumps, and Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall a bronze medal in ice dancing. The Canadian hockey team again finished out of the medals. In the closing, IOC head Juan Antonio Samaranch declared that Calgary had staged the best-organized Games in the history of the Winter Olympics.

Canada's Rank: 12th
Silver: Brian Orser, figure skating; Elizabeth Manley, figure skating
Bronze: Robert McCall and Tracy Wilson, ice dancing; Karen Percy, Super-G skiing and downhill

1992 Winter Olympic Games: Albertville, France (February 8-February 23)

The 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, were followed only 2 years later in Lillehammer, Norway. The change of timing was made so that the winter and summer games would take place in different years. The Albertville Games saw the introduction of freestyle skiing, short-track skating and women's biathlon. The Canadian hockey team returned to the medals with silver. Kerrin Lee-Gartner became the first Canadian ever to win an Olympic downhill gold, on the demanding course at Méribel. The Canadian team also won medals in the demonstration sports of curling and freestyle aerials.

Kerrin Lee-Gartner
On what has been deemed the most difficult and dangerous downhill course ever designed for any Olympic Games, Kerrin Lee-Gartner won the first-ever Canadian downhill gold at Albertville on 15 Feb 1992. (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

Canada's Rank: 9th
Gold: Angela Cutrone, Sylvie Daigle, Nathalie Lambert and Annie Perreault, 3000-m short-track skating relay; Kerrin Lee-Gartner, downhill
Silver: Men's Hockey; Frédéric Blackburn, 1000-m short-track skating; Frédéric Blackburn, Laurent Daignault, Michel Daignault, Sylvain Gagnon and Mark Lackie, 5000-m short track skating relay
Bronze: Myriam Bédard, 15-km biathlon; Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, skating pairs

1994 Winter Olympic Games: Lillehammer, Norway (February 12- February 27)

The extremely successful Lillehammer Games were marred only by the media frenzy over the sordid Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal in which Kerrigan was attacked before the Games but went on to win a silver medal. For the first time, former Soviet states such as Ukraine, Russia and Georgia competed as independent nations.

 Jean-Luc Brassard
Jean-Luc Brassard won Canada's first-ever medal in freestyle skiing, a gold, at the Olympics in Lillehammer on 16 Feb 1994. (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

The Canadian team, in its finest performance, earned 13 medals, highlighted by Myriam Bédard's 2 gold medals in biathlon. Elvis Stojko's Olympic performances in Lillehammer that year were clearly superior to the competitors', but the judges had not yet warmed to his artistic style and he had to settle for the silver medal. The men's hockey team won Canada's final medal of the Games, losing an emotional gold medal game in a shootout against Sweden.

Canada's Rank: 6th
Gold: Myriam Bédard, 15-km and 7.5-km biathlon; Jean-Luc Brassard, moguls
Silver: Men's Hockey; Susan Auch, 500-m speed skating; Nathalie Lambert 1000-m short-track skating; Christine Boudrias, Isabelle Charest, Sylvie Daigle and Nathalie Lambert, 3000-m short-track skating relay; Elvis Stojko, men's figure skating; Philippe Laroche, aerials
Bronze: Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, pairs skating; Marc Gagnon 1000-m short-track skating; Edi Podivinsky, downhill; Lloyd Langlois, aerials

1998 Winter Olympic Games: Nagano, Japan (February 7-February 22)

The weather wreaked havoc with the skiing events at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. These Games marked a dramatic change in the rules for hockey, as professionals (i.e., from the NHL) were allowed to participate and women's hockey was presented for the first time. Despite this long-anticipated development, the Canadian men's hockey team not only failed to dominate but finished out of the medals. Ross Rebagliati won the first-ever gold medal awarded for snowboarding, was disqualified for testing positive for marijuana but was reaffirmed on appeal. Canadian bobsledders Pierre Lueders and David MacEachern shared the first-ever tie for gold with an Italian pair.

 Catriona LeMay Doan
Canadian speed skating icon Catriona LeMay Doan won the first of her two Olympic medals at Nagano, a gold in the 500 m on 13 Feb 1998. In a showdown against fellow Canadian and training partner Susan Auch, LeMay Doan edged out Auch by a mere 0.03 seconds. LeMay Doan also added a bronze medal in the 1000 m later in the Games (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

Canada's Rank: 5th
Gold: Pierre Lueders and David MacEachern, 2-man bobsleigh; Janice Betker, Marcia Gudereit, Atina Johnston, Joan Elizabeth McCusker and Sandra Schmirler, women's curling; Catriona Le May Doan 500-m speed skating; Éric Bédard, Derrick Campbell, François Drolet and Marc Gagnon, 5000-m short track relay; Annie Perreault, 500-m short track; Ross Rebagliati, Giant Slalom snowboard
Silver: Mike Harris, Richard Hart, George Karrys, Collin Mitchell and Paul Savage, curling; Susan Auch, 500-m speed skating; Jeremy Wotherspoon 500-m speed skating; Elvis Stojko, figure skating
Bronze: Catriona Le May Doan, 1000-m speed skating; Kevin Crockett, 500-m speed skating; Éric Bédard, 1000-m speed skating; Christine Boudrias, Isabelle Charest, Annie Perreault and Tania Vicent, 3000-m short-track relay

2002 Winter Olympic Games: Salt Lake City (February 8-February 24)

The awarding of the 2002 Games to Salt Lake City was marred by the biggest scandal in Olympic history, as it was revealed that several IOC members had sold their votes to the highest bidder. For Canadian athletes, Salt Lake 2002 was the most successful Winter Games in Olympic history. Canada placed a record 4th in the medal standings behind Germany, the United States and Norway with a total of 17 medals. Canadian athletes won 7 gold, 3 silver and 7 bronze medals. The crowning achievement for Canada was the gold medal victories for both the women's and men's hockey teams. The men's victory did not come easily as the team, led by captain Mario Lemieux, got off to a poor start, losing to the Swedes 5-2 and tying the Czechs 3-3. In a close contest against the Americans, the Canadians prevailed 5-2 to win gold, 50 years to the day after the Edmonton Mercurys had last won gold.

 Jamie Sale and David Pelletier
Pairs figure skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier delivered a performance that would eventually win them a gold medal at the Salt Lake Olympics on 11 Feb 2002, after a controversial judging scandal was resolved. (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

Pairs figure skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier shared double gold medals with Russian skaters Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze after a controversial judging scandal. In the longest unbroken streak in Olympic history, for 10 straight Olympics, from 1964 in Innsbruck through 1998 in Nagano, Russians had captured gold in the figure skating pairs. Aerialists Veronica Brenner and Deidra Dionne became the first Canadian women to win Olympic medals in freestyle skiing, winning silver and bronze respectively. Canadian speed skaters were the most significant contributors to the total medal count, winning a total of 9 medals. Short-track speed skater Marc Gagnon became the most decorated Canadian Winter Olympian of all time when he won gold in the 500-m, gold in the 5000-m relay with teammates Éric Bédard, Jonathan Guilmette, François-Louis Tremblay and Mathieu Turcotte, and bronze in the 1500-m. Gagnon's total of 5 Olympic medals from 1994 to 2002 exceeds Gaëtan Boucher's record of 4 medals. Speed skater Clara Hughes won the honour of being the first Canadian athlete to win a medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. In 1996 at Atlanta, Hughes won 2 bronze medals for cycling.

Canada's Rank: 4th
Gold: Men's Hockey; Women's Hockey; Marc Gagnon, 500-m short-track skating; Catriona Le May Doan, 500-m speed skating; Éric Bédard, Marc Gagnon, Jonathan Guilmette, François-Louis Tremblay and Mathieu Turcotte, 5000-m short-track relay; David Pelletier and Jamie Sale, pairs skating; Beckie Scott cross-country skiing pursuit
Silver: Donald Bartlett, Kevin Martin, Carter Rycroft, Kenneth Tralnberg and Donald Walchuk, curling; Jonathan Guilmette, 500-m short-track skating; Veronica Brenner, aerials
Bronze: Diane Dezura, Kelley Law, Cheryl Noble, Julie Skinner and Georgina Wheatcroft, curling; Marc Gagnon, 1500-m short-track skating; Isabelle Charest, Marie-Eve Drôlet, Amélie Goulet-Nadon, Alanna Kraus and Tania Vicent, 3000-m short-track skating relay; Mathieu Turcotte, 1000-m short-track skating; Cindy Klassen, 3000-m speed skating; Clara Hughes, 5000-m speed skating; Deidra Dionne, aerials

2006 Winter Olympic Games: Torino (Turin), Italy (February 10-February 26)

Canada sent its largest (196 athletes) and most successful (24 medals) team to Turin, Italy. Jennifer Heil (freestyle skiing) won Canada's first medal on the first day, the first- ever medal for Canada in the women's moguls. Eight of the medals came in long track speed skating as Cindy Klassen became Canada's most decorated Olympian ever by winning 5 medals at these Games to add to her previous medal won in 2002. The Canadian women's hockey team successfully defended its gold medal from 2002. The men's hockey team, the cream of the NHL, players with more than 320 goals among them to that point in the season, suddenly lost their touch and direction and went out in the quarter final round. Former bobsledder Duff Gibson of Calgary became the oldest Olympic athlete (age 39) to win gold in an individual event (skeleton).

 Cindy Klassen
Speed skater Cindy Klassen won gold in the 1500 m on 22 Feb 2006, and followed it with three additional medals (two silvers and a bronze) later in the Games. In so doing, she became the most decorated Winter Olympian in Canadian history. (courtesy Canadian Press Images).

Canada's Rank: 3rd
Gold: Duff Gibson, skeleton; Mike Adam, Brad Gushue, Russ Howard, Jamie Korab and Mark Nichols, curling; Women's Hockey; Clara Hughes, 5000-m speed skating; Cindy Klassen, 1500-m speed skating; Chandra Crawford, short-track skating sprint; Jennifer Heil, moguls
Silver: Lascelles Brown and Pierre Lueders, bobsleigh; Jeff Pain, skeleton; Kristina Groves, 1500-m speed skating; Alanna Kraus, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Amanda Overland, Kalyna Roberge and Tania Vicent, 3000-m short-track skating relay; Arne Dankers, Steven Elm, Dennis Morrison, Jason Parker and Justin Warsylewicz, short track skating pursuit; Kristina Groves, Clara Hughes, Cindy Klassen, Christine Nesbitt, Shannon Rempel, short-track skating pursuit; Cindy Klassen, 1000-m speed skating; Éric Bédard, Jonathan Guilmette, Charles Hamelin, François-Louis Tremblay and Mathieu Turcotte, 5000-m short-track skating relay; François-Louis Tremblay, 500-m short-track skating; Sara Renner and Beckie Scott, cross-country skiing team sprint
Bronze: Mellisa Hollingsworth, skeleton; Glenys Bakker, Sandra Jenkins, Christine Keshen, Shannon Kleibrink and Amy Nixon, curling; Jeffrey Buttle, figure skating; Cindy Klassen, 3000-m and 5000-m speed skating; Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, 500-m short-track skating; Dominique Maltais, snowboardcross.