The Sport Information Resource Centre
The Sport Information Resource Centre

As Canada celebrates its 143rd birthday, what better way to commemorate this occasion, than by honouring some the great athletes Canada has produced. Now I am not talking about the Wayne Gretzkys, or the Steve Nashes of the world, they are honoured all the time. I mean some of those lesser known athletes who may not have made millions of dollars, but have accomplished great things in the sporting world:

Graydon “Blondie” Robinson who won the 1969 AMF Bowling World Cup by only six pins with a 379-373 aggregate. Robinson was the first Canadian to win the world 10-pin championship and the championship’s oldest winner at 41.

Myrtle Cook who was a member of the famous “Matchless Six”, Canada’s first ever women’s Olympic Track team. The year was 1928 and despite public protest, women were permitted for the first time to compete in track and field at the Amsterdam Olympics. Myrtle and her three team mates took the gold medal in the 4 X 100m relay. Myrtle went on to win gold in the 100m in meets in Paris and Philadelphia and also set a 100m world record at the Olympic Trials.

Tommy Burns the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1906 to 1908. Despite being only 5’7”, he successfully defeated 6’ tall American Marvin Hart for the heavyweight championship title in 1906 and successfully defended his title 11 times over the next 2 years.

Lucille Wheeler won Canada’s first Olympic Skiing medal, taking home the bronze in 1956. She was also the first North American to win a world championship title, both for the downhill and giant slalom, in 1958. She paved the way for future skiing sensation Nancy Green.

Phil Marchildon Major League Pitcher with the Philadelphia Athletics who had his best season in 1946 after spending two years as a prisoner of war in the infamous German prison camp Stalag Luft III. He finished with a 19-9 record, second in the American League in wins behind All-Star Bob Feller, and even more remarkably-given the state of his health in 1945-Marchildon finished third in the American League in both games started and innings pitched.

Visit Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame to learn about other great Canadian athletes.