She has been referred to as Canada's Shirley Temple, Elfi Schlegel tumbled into the hearts of Canadians and eventually into the homes of North Americans.
Schlegel was born to Swiss immigrants in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where she began gymnastics at the early age of seven.
When the 11th Commonwealth Games opened in Alberta in August 1978, 12-year-old Schlegel competed in the Commonwealth’s first gymnastics competition. She and her three teammates won the team gold medal, well ahead of England and New Zealand.
At the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Schlegel won a bronze medal as the third-best gymnast in the games, two silver medals for the uneven bars and vault, and a gold medal as a member of the first-place Canadian team. She also won a bronze medal in the vault at the 1980 World Cup in Toronto, the first-ever World Cup medal for a Canadian.
Two years later, she was selected as a member of the Canadian national team for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia, but was unable to participate when Canada joined the United States led boycott of the Moscow Games in protest of the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.
After her gymnastic career ended, the media darling became a media commentator, as Schlegel, ended up covering Commonwealth and Olympic games for CBC. Her broadcasting career later took her to NBC covering the Olympic women's gymnastics at the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games. The 2012 Summer Olympics was her tenth Olympics as a broadcaster.