On the eve on the Sochi, Russia, winter Olympics, Canada has honoured 3 of its winter sports pioneers.
In celebrating and commemorating these athletes, the Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post, the Honourable Lisa Raitt said “It’s difficult to think of curling, figure skating and freestyle skiing without these incredible athletes being top of mind. She added, “Each of these women reached the highest levels of athletic accomplishment and these stamps recognize their significant contributions to their sports.”
Freestyle skier Sarah Burke, from Barrie, Ontario, was a pioneer of the superpipe event and a four-time Winter X Games gold medalist. She won the world championship in the halfpipe in 2005.
She was also the first woman to land a 1080 –degree rotation in competition (three full spins)
Even more than all that, she successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have the event added to the Olympic program for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She was voted female skier of the year award in 2001 by the American sports cable network ESPN, and won their ESPY award in 2007 for best female action-sports athlete.
Unfortunately she would never be able to compete in the Olympic event she helped create coming up this month, While training in Utah, she fell on her head, and died several days later on January 19, 2012
Sandra Schmirler born in Biggar, Saskatchewan was the skip one of the most successful curling teams in Canadian history. Along with teammates Jan Betker, Joan McCusker and Marcia Gudereit, she won three Canadian and three world championships between 1993 and 1997. In 1998, the first year curling becam and Olympic event, Schmirler and her team Canada’s and the world’s first-ever Olympic gold medallists.
Schmirler is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the World Curling Federation Hall of Fame. She passed away in 2000 after a battle with cancer. Nicknamed Schmiler the Curler, she was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the World Curling Federation Hall of Fame.
Barbara Ann Scott from Ottawa, Ontario became the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold for singles figure skating. No other female Canadian skater has matched that accomplishment in the 66 years since the St. Moritz 1948 Olympic Winter Games.
The world first took notice when the teenager travelled to Europe thanks to funds raised by her community to win both the European and World Figure Skating championships, to become the first North American to win both the European and World figure skating championships, and remains the only Canadian to have won the European title
However, her awards and accolades go well beyond that first gold medal, and the North American,European, and World championships. Off the ice, she was named to the Order of Canada and Canada’s Walk of Fame, and was inducted in several sports halls of fame for her achievements. She became a professional skater in 1948 performing headlining and touring widely in ice shows. Later in life she was also rated as one of North America’s top equestrians.
She was an Olympic torch bearer in the lead up to the 1988 Calgary Olympics, and in 2009 carried the torch into Canada’s House of Commons in anticipation of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics where she was also one of the Olympic flag bearers at the opening of the Vancouver Olympics
Barbara Ann Scott, who was known as “Canada’s Sweetheart,” passed away in September 2012 at her home in Florida.