John and Victor (Vic) Emery | The Canadian Encyclopedia


John and Victor (Vic) Emery

 John Emery, bobsledder (b at Montréal 4 Jan 1932) and Vic Emery, bobsledder (b at Montréal 28 June 1933).
The four-man team of brothers Victor and John Emery, Douglas Anakin and Peter Kirby (shown here, left to right) won the Olympic gold medal at Innsbruck on 7 Feb 1964 at Canada's first-ever showing in Olympic bobsledding (courtesy Canada Sports Hall of Fame/X981.33.1.1).

John and Victor (Vic) Emery

John Emery, bobsledder (b at Montréal 4 Jan 1932) and Vic Emery, bobsledder (b at Montréal 28 June 1933). Brothers Vic and John Emery teamed with Doug Anakin and Peter Kirby at the 1964 Innsbruck WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES to provide Canada with a gold medal in BOBSLEIGH, a sport few Canadians dared attempt because of cost and inadequate training facilities.

An exceptional athlete in track, boxing and skiing, John Emery was introduced to bobsleigh by his brother Vic, who became interested in the sport while watching the 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo Olympics. Soon after, in 1957, the brothers founded the Laurentian Bobsledding Association. They entered their first world championship in 1959, at Lake Placid, placing a disappointing 13th out of 16 competitors. Undeterred, they continued to compete and managed a fourth-place finish at the world level in 1962.

The brothers and Anakin and Kirby set their sights on the Olympics, but Canada chose not to send a team in 1960. By 1964 they had convinced the Canadian Olympic Committee to allow their entry to the 1964 Games at Innsbruck, and after several practices on "dry" runs in a school gym and the odd run at Lake Placid, they faced off against the powerhouse Italian and Austrian teams. Called Canadian Sled No. 1, their bobsleigh managed an Olympic record on the first run. In the final run, on a sled that had been broken but in a show of good sportsmanship had been fixed up with help from the Italian team, the four-man Canadian team managed to win the country's first medal in bobsledding on 7 Feb 1964, Canada's only gold medal that year. Since Anakin and John Emery were unavailable the following year, Vic Emery and Peter Kirby recruited newcomers Gerald Presley and Michael Young to compete with them for the 1965 world championship title at St Moritz, which they won.

The Emery brothers' efforts paved the way for a national bobsleigh program in Canada and, in recognition, they were inducted into CANADA'S SPORTS HALL OF FAME in 1964. In 1971 the 4 original teammates were inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.

When his competitive career was over Vic Emery embarked on a successful career in business. John Emery pursued a career as a plastic surgeon, all the while maintaining an interest in athletics, competing in triathlons and running the Boston Marathon in 1979.

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