Feb. 2, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the fourth in a series of eight feature articles prepared for Heritage Week, Feb. 8 - 15. Entitled Spotlight on our Heritage, this series is a reflection upon the people, places and collections of New Brunswick's past. This article was prepared by the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. For more information about Heritage Week, visit the Heritage Week 2010 website.
New Brunswick Sports Hall of "Flame"
The Winter Olympic Games are a glamorous sports and media phenomenon today, but their early days were considerably less grand. When figure skating, the first winter sport to be introduced, made its Olympic debut in 1908, the reaction was not enthusiastic. However, that may have been because it debuted at a summer games.
The Summer Games were actually the only Olympics at that time. Figure skating did not return in 1912, and the Olympics were pre-empted by war in 1916. In 1920 figure skating returned to the Games along with ice hockey and Canada became the first team to win Olympic gold in hockey.
The inclusion of figure skating and hockey led to increased interest in the Games from bobsleighers and skiers. In 1924 the International Olympic Committee created a separate Winter Olympic Games. Among the Canadian contingent that year was New Brunswick speed skater Charles Gorman. Canada's hockey team again took home gold, but it was not until 1932 that a New Brunswicker climbed the podium: speed skater Willie Logan. He won two bronze medals: one for the 1500 m race, the other for the 500 m.
A generation later, fellow New Brunswicker Mark Lackie won speed skating medals in 1988, with a bronze in the men's 5,000 m short track speed skating relay, and again in 1992 with a silver in the same event.
New Brunswick hockey player Allain Roy was a part of the Canadian hockey team that won a silver medal at the 1992 games. Six years later, the women's hockey team matched that effort, shining a silver light on two New Brunswick-born players: Stacy Wilson and Kathy McCormack.
That light turned gold in 2006 and shone on the curling rink when Russ Howard became the first New Brunswicker to bring home gold for his country. Howard played second on the Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland and Labrador, the first Canadian men's team to win the Olympic curling competition.
The light of past Olympic achievements continues to inspire at the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in a special exhibit on display. The exhibit extends back centuries to the first official games and includes medalists, non-medalists, athletes, coaches, organizers and even medical staff. The display is marked by milestones such as 1984 when Carole Keyes competed in the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, becoming the first New Brunswick athlete to compete in three Olympic Winter Games. Another significant milestone occurred in 1999 when Sally Rehorick was named chef-de-mission of the Canadian Team to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the first time a New Brunswick official headed an Olympic delegation.
The spirit of the Winter Olympic Games is interpreted and shared through the hall's archives, collections and exhibitions. To keep your flame alive, go online or visit in person at 503 Queen St., Fredericton.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Elizabeth Joubert, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445; Jamie Wolverton, executive director, New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, 506-453-8930.