Brush with greatness
Brad Jacobs’s rink struggled in Sochi’s early going, but gold was always the plan—the only plan.
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Brad Jacobs’s rink struggled in Sochi’s early going, but gold was always the plan—the only plan.
On 6 October 2014, author Jeremy Freeborn interviewed Clara Hughes for The Canadian Encyclopedia. A six-time Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating, Hughes cycled across Canada in 2014 to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Sports have a long history in Canada, from early Indigenous games (e.g., baggataway) to more recent sports such as snowboarding and kitesurfing. Officially, Canada has two national sports: lacrosse (summer) and hockey (winter).
The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.
Big Ben, show jumper (b 1976 at Belgium, d at Guelph, Ont 11 Dec 1999). Bred in Belgium, Big Ben, partnered with seven-time Canadian Olympian Ian MILLAR, became one of the greatest show jumping horses in the world.
John Stanton, entrepreneur, runner (b 29 Dec 1948, Tofield, Alta). John Stanton is Canada's best-known expert on recreational running, and through his business, Running Room Ltd, he has advocated for improved health and fitness through simple changes in lifestyle that include increased activity.
Eugenie Bouchard, tennis player (born 25 February 1994 in Montréal, QC). At Wimbledon 2014, Bouchard became the first Canadian singles player to reach the final of a senior Grand Slam singles tennis tournament. Although she lost to Petra Kvitova, the match was watched by over a million Canadians and helped make Bouchard a media sensation. Two years earlier, Bouchard had won the Wimbledon 2012 girls’ tournament, becoming the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title at any level. A two-time winner of the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award (2013 and 2014), she was the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Newcomer of the Year in 2013 and won a WTA title in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2014.
In 1980, Terry Fox ran 5,373 km during his Marathon of Hope, using a prosthesis designed primarily for walking. His accomplishment motivated researchers to develop prostheses better suited for running.
John Napier Turner, PC, CC; politician, lawyer, prime minister, athlete (born in Richmond, England, 7 June 1929; died 19 September 2020 in Toronto, ON). John Turner is best known for his early political service as federal justice minister (1968–72) and finance minister (1972–75) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and for the 1988 election battle with Brian Mulroney over free trade. Turner's 11-week term as prime minister in 1984 is the second shortest in Canadian history, after Sir Charles Tupper (10 weeks).
Hayley Wickenheiser, OC, hockey player, softball player (born 12 August 1978 in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan). Hayley Wickenheiser won seven gold medals and six silver medals with Team Canada at the IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship, as well as four gold medals and one silver medal at the Olympic Winter Games. She is the all-time leader in goals (18), assists (33) and points (51) in women’s ice hockey at the Olympic Winter Games. She is the all-time leader in assists (49) and points (86) at the Women’s World Hockey Championship. She was also the first woman ever to score a goal in a men’s professional league. Wickenheiser retired from competitive hockey in 2017, finishing with 379 points (168 goals and 211 assists) in 276 games with Team Canada. An Officer of the Order of Canada, she has won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as the Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year and been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Damian David George Warner, men’s decathlete (born 4 November 1989 in London, Ontario). Damian Warner is regarded as Canada’s all-time best decathlete. At the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, he won the gold medal and set an Olympic record in decathlon with 9,018 total points. He is one of only four decathletes to reach 9,000 points in international competition. Warner also holds the men’s decathlon world records in the 100 m (10.12 seconds), long jump (8.28 m), and 110 m hurdles (13.36 seconds). He has won many medals in international competition, including a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games and a record six titles at the prestigious Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria. In 2021, he was awarded the Lionel Conacher Award and the Lou Marsh Trophy and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Lui Passaglia, football player (born 7 June 1954 in Vancouver, BC). Lui Passaglia is regarded as one of the best kickers in Canadian Football League (CFL) history. He played 25 straight seasons with the BC Lions (1976–2000) and won three Grey Cups (1985, 1994, 2000). He holds both the CFL and professional football record for most points scored (3,991). He is also the CFL’s all-time leader in seasons, games played (408), field goals made (875) and converts made (1,045). He has been inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, the BC Football Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. His No. 5 has been retired by the Lions, with whom he works as a community relations ambassador.
Jimmy Claxton, baseball player, stevedore (born 14 December 1892 in Wellington, BC; died 3 March 1970 in Tacoma, Washington). On 28 May 1916, Jimmy Claxton became the first Black person to play Organized Baseball (MLB and all of its affiliated minor leagues) in the 20th century. The left-handed pitcher did so 30 years before Jackie Robinson played for the Montreal Royals. Claxton was also the first Black player to be featured on an American baseball card. He is the only Negro Leagues player from Canada to have his statistics upgraded to major league numbers. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021.
Hénoc Muamba, football player (born 23 February 1989 in Kinshasa, Congo). Defensive lineman Hénoc Muamba was named the best defensive player in Canadian university football in 2010. Selected first overall in the 2011 Canadian Football League (CFL) draft, Muamba has played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2011–13), the Montreal Alouettes (2015, 2018–19), the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2016–17) and the Toronto Argonauts (2021–present). A two-time CFL All-Star and the 2019 Most Outstanding Canadian, Muamba was named both Most Valuable Canadian and Most Valuable Player at the 2022 Grey Cup. He is only the second player in CFL history (after Andrew Harris in 2019) to earn the double honour.
Michael Edgson, swimmer (born 6 May 1969 in North Vancouver, BC). Edgson won 20 medals at the Paralympic Games from 1984 to 1992, and 10 gold medals at the World Swimming Championships for the Physically Disabled.
In 1989, Manley retired from amateur competition and went on to enjoy a successful professional career. She was involved in several television specials, including Elvis Tour of Champions. She toured briefly with the Ice Capades, where she played Cinderella in Cinderella: Frozen in Time.
On 6 June 2014, author Jeremy Freeborn interviewed two-time Olympic moguls champion Alexandre Bilodeau for The Canadian Encyclopedia.
George Dixon, boxer (born 29 July 1870 in Africville, NS; died 6 January 1908 in New York, New York). George Dixon was the first Black world champion in boxing history and the first Canadian to ever win a world championship. Despite his small stature (5 feet 3.5 inches and between 87 and 115 pounds), Dixon amassed several notable accomplishments across a 20-year career and was the first boxer to win championships in multiple weight classes — bantamweight (1890) and featherweight (1891–96; 1897; 1898–1900). A cerebral fighter known as a “pioneer of scientific boxing,” he is credited with inventing various fundamental training techniques, including shadowboxing and the use of the heavy bag. As a dominant Black fighter in the post-Civil War United States, Dixon was subjected to fierce racism. He died in poverty from alcoholism at the age of 37. He was an inaugural inductee into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, and was also named to The Ring Magazine Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
For many Canadians, particularly baby boomers and Generation X, the eight-game hockey series between Team Canada and the national team of the Soviet Union in September 1972 provided the greatest moment in Canada’s sporting history. Most expected that Canada would handily defeat the Soviet Union, but this confidence quickly disappeared when Canada lost the first game. The series was tied heading into the final game in Moscow, which ended in dramatic fashion, with Paul Henderson scoring in the final seconds to give Canada the victory. The series became as much a Cold War political battle of democracy versus communism and freedom versus oppression as it was about hockey. The series had a lasting impact on hockey in Canada and abroad.
Christine Girard, weightlifter (born 3 January 1985 in Elliot Lake, ON). Christine Girard is one of Canada’s top athletes and among the world’s best female weightlifters. She was North America’s top female weightlifter in the 63 kg class and holds two Canadian weightlifting records and one Pan American Games weightlifting record. Girard won bronze at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing and gold at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. She is the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting and the only Canadian to win two medals in the sport.