Hudec the conquerer
Despite near-catastrophic injuries, Jan Hudec came back and won Canada’s first alpine medal in 20 years
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Despite near-catastrophic injuries, Jan Hudec came back and won Canada’s first alpine medal in 20 years
Penelope “Penny” Oleksiak, swimmer (born 13 June 2000 in Scarborough, ON). Swimmer Penny Oleksiak is Canada’s most decorated Olympian, with seven medals overall. She also holds the record as the youngest Canadian to win Olympic gold (16 years and 59 days). In 2016, she became the first Canadian athlete to win four medals at a single Olympic Summer Games: gold in the 100 m freestyle; silver in the 100 m butterfly; bronze in the women’s 4x100 m freestyle relay; and bronze in the women’s 4x200 m freestyle relay. Oleksiak won three medals at the Tokyo Games in 2021: silver in the women’s 4x100 m freestyle relay; bronze in the women’s 200 m freestyle; and bronze in the women’s 4x100 m medley relay. She received the Lou Marsh Trophy and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award in 2016.
The obsession began 22 years ago. A eureka moment in the living room of her mother's Winnipeg home, watching the great Gaétan BOUCHER try to turn back time and win his fifth Olympic SPEED SKATING medal for Canada, at the ripe old age of 29.
Thomas Charles Longboat (Gagwe:gih), distance runner, Olympian (born 4 July 1886 in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River; died 9 January 1949 in Ohsweken). Tom Longboat was an Onondaga distance runner from Six Nations of the Grand River. One of the most famous athletes of the early 20th century, Longboat pioneered training methods still used today. He is considered one of the first celebrity athletes in Canada, with his athletic successes known across North America and overseas. He was a leader in establishing marathon running as an international sport and won many marathons in record-breaking times, beating competitors from all over the world. Longboat was the first Indigenous person to win the Boston Marathon (1907). He competed for Canada at the 1908 Olympic Games. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
Alison Jane Sydor, OBC, cyclist (born 9 September 1966 in Edmonton, AB). Alison Sydor is considered one of Canada’s best cyclists and one of the best mountain bike cyclists ever. She won 17 World Cup medals in cross-country cycling, including four gold, and 13 World Championship medals, including three gold. After winning silver in the first Olympic mountain bike event in 1996, Sydor was named International Cyclist of the Year by Velo News and received the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canada’s female athlete of the year. She also competed in road racing; she won the National Road Championships four times and was the first Canadian woman to medal in an individual international road race. Sydor has been inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
Hockey is Canada's national winter game and arguably its greatest contribution to world sport, and this prowess undeniably translates to the Olympic arena as well.
Canadian women have participated in every Olympic Winter Games since their inception in 1924. The first Canadian woman to medal at the Games was figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, who won gold in 1948. Her success was followed by gold medals in such sports as alpine skiing (e.g., Anne Heggtveit in 1960 and Nancy Greene in 1968), speed skating (e.g., Catriona Le May Doan in 1998 and 2002 and Cindy Klassen in 2006), biathlon (Myriam Bédard 1994), and hockey (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). Canadian women have also excelled in Olympic sports such as bobsled, snowboarding, short track speed skating, freestyle skiing, and curling. Since the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Canadian women have won 105 Olympic medals, including 38 gold medals.
William J. "Torchy" Peden, cyclist (born 16 April 1906 in Victoria, BC; died 26 January 1980 in Chicago, Illinois). One of the greatest cyclists of his era, Peden was particularly successful on the six-day racing circuit in the 1930s. In his first four years of six-day racing, he won 24 of 48 races. In total, he won 38 of 148 races between 1929 and 1948, a record that stood until 1965. Peden was one of the top-paid athletes of the Depression era, alongside Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees. He is a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame.
Canadians have been involved in modern equestrian sports (dressage, jumping and eventing) since the early 20th century, and have brought home medals from the Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games.
Michael "Mike" Bossy, hockey player (born 22 January 1957 in Montreal, QC; died 15 April 2022 in Montreal). After starring for the Laval Nationals in junior, Bossy joined the New York Islanders in 1977-78. He scored 53 goals that year, becoming the first rookie in National Hockey League history to record a 50 goal season, a feat that earned him the Calder Trophy. He proved this was not a fluke by registering 50 or more goals for each of the next eight seasons, including a remarkable 50 goals in the first 50 games of the 1980-81 season, equalling the 26-year-old record established by Maurice Richard.
Mikaël Kingsbury, freestyle skier (born 24 July 1992 in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, QC). Mikaël Kingsbury won the silver medal in men’s moguls at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and the gold medal in moguls at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang (see Freestyle Skiing). In International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup competition, he has won seven Crystal Globes as the overall champion of freestyle skiing (2012–18) and the World Cup moguls title for seven straight years (2012–18). As of December 2018, he had won a record 50 World Cup gold medals and 74 medals overall in moguls competition, as well as seven medals at the world championships. Also in 2018, Kingsbury became the first freestyle skier to win the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.
Mark Douglas “Moose” Messier, hockey player (born 18 January 1961 in Edmonton, AB). A talented forward who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 25 seasons, Mark Messier is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He ranks near the top of many regular-season NHL records: third in points (1,887), eighth in goals (694), third in assists (1,193) and second in games played (1,756). He is also second all-time in playoff goals (109), playoff assists (186) and playoff points (295), and fourth overall in playoff games played (236). Famous for his leadership, he captained the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player with the Oilers in 1990 and with the Rangers in 1992. Messier won six Stanley Cups and received the Conn Smythe Trophyas playoff MVP in 1984. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Larry Kwong, hockey player (born 17 June 1923 in Vernon, BC; died 15 March 2018 in Calgary, AB). On 13 March 1948, Kwong became the first Chinese Canadian to play a National Hockey League game, thereby breaking the colour barrier. He was also the first Asian-Canadian and first hockey player born in Vernon, BC, to play in the NHL.
David Binnie Turner, soccer player (b at Edinburgh, Scot 11 Oct 1903; d at Victoria 6 Apr 1989). Turner came to Canada at age 11 and played junior soccer in Edmonton. A powerful player with an excellent shot and heading ability, he was one of Canada's top players in the 1920s and 1930s.
Virgil Edwin Wagner, football player (born at Belleville, Ill 27 Feb 1922; died there 22 Aug 1997).
Nelson Robert Stewart, Nels, "Old Poison," hockey player (b at Montreal 29 Dec 1902; d at Toronto 21 Aug 1957). He was the first player to score 300 goals and his record of 324 goals held until broken by Maurice RICHARD.
Terrance Stanley Fox, CC, Order of the Dogwood, athlete, humanitarian, cancer research activist (born 28 July 1958 in Winnipeg, MB; died 28 June 1981 in New Westminster, BC). After losing his right leg to cancer at age 18, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. With the use of a customized running prothesis, he set out from St. John’s, Newfoundland, on 12 April 1980 and covered 5,373 km in 143 days — an average of 42 km (26 miles) per day. He was forced to stop his Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on 1 September 1980, when cancer had invaded his lungs. He died shortly before his 23rd birthday. The youngest person to be made a Companion of the Order of Canada, he was awarded the 1980 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year and was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and has had many schools, institutions and landmarks named in his honour. The annual Terry Fox Run has raised more than $800 million for cancer research. The Marathon of Hope raised $24 million by February 1981.
Clark Gillies, hockey player (b at Moose Jaw, Sask 7 Apr 1954).
Denis Charles Potvin, hockey player (b at Ottawa 29 Oct 1953). After a junior career with the Ottawa 67s, Potvin was the first player chosen in the 1973 NHL draft.
Gaylord Powless, Mohawk lacrosse player (born 1 December 1946 in Six Nations of the Grand River, ON; died 28 July 2001 in Ohsweken, ON). Gaylord Powless was a box lacrosse player who transcended the game to become one of Canada’s most famous athletes. Powless lived most of his life in Six Nations of the Grand River, near Brantford, Ontario. He became the signature player on the Oshawa Green Gaels’ junior lacrosse dynasty of the 1960s and shattered the Ontario junior league scoring record in his sophomore year with the team. The Gaels won the Minto Cup, Canada’s national junior lacrosse championship, in all four years that he played at the junior level. Powless also won the 1971 Mann Cup, which is emblematic of the Canadian senior lacrosse champions, and was a marquee player in three different professional leagues. Powless and his father, Ross, are both members of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame. In 2017, Powless was elected to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.