Abby Hoffman was accomplished in multiple sports before settling on track and field.
As a youngster in Toronto, Hoffman learned to skate at the early age of three. When she was nine, she wanted to play hockey but there were no leagues for girls in the Toronto area. Hoffman was determined to play and cut her hair and registered herself as 'Ab Hoffman' in the boy's league.
When it was discovered she was a girl, Hoffman was no longer allowed to play. Her parents took the case to the Ontario Supreme Court and the story was covered by Time Magazine and Newsweek.
After her experiences with hockey, Hoffman participated in competitive swimming and then realized she was particularly suited to track and field, specifically 800-metre running. She competed in four Olympic Games: (1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976), four Pan American Games and two Commonwealth Games and was Canada's flag-bearer at the 1976 Games in Montreal.
She finished 7th in the 800 metres at the Mexico Olympics; and in the 1972 Munich games she was 8th in a historic women's 800 metre race in which the entire field, but two runners broke the two minute barrier. Hoffman ran 2:00.17 seconds; a Canadian record and personal best.
Hoffman also won gold for the 800-metre race at the 1963 Pan American Games and the 1971 Pan American Games, along with a bronze medal during the 1967 games.
At the 1975 Pan Am Games, Hoffman also captured silver and a bronze medal for the 800-metre and the 1500-metre distances.
From 1981 to 1991, she was the first woman Director General of Sport Canada, a federal government sports agency. In 1981, Hoffman was the first Canadian woman elected to the Executive Committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
William Frederick Crothers (born December 24, 1940 in Markham, Ontario) is a retired Canadian track and field athlete.
At one point, he held the Canadian record in all distances from 400 metres to 1500 metres and was holder of the world 800 metre indoor record. In 1963, he ran the two fastest 800 metre races of the year. He was named Lou Marsh Trophy winner as Canada's top athlete of 1963. Crothers competed for Canada in the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, winning a silver medal in the 800 metres. He also competed in the 400 metres, but was eliminated in the semi-finals. He received the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada's top male athlete of 1964. Crothers was ranked by Track & Field News as the top 800 metre runner of 1965 and the second best of the decade.
He has been inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (1965), and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (1971).
Called Bobbie for her "bobbed" haircut, Fanny ("Bobbie") Rosenfeld was born December 28, 1904, in Dneipropetrovsk, Russia) Her family then immigrated to the small town of Barrie, Ontario when she was just an infant. was a Canadian athlete, who earned a gold medal for the 400 metre relay and a silver medal for the 100 metre at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. She was called the "best Canadian female athlete of the half-century" and a star at basketball, hockey, softball, and tennis.
Rosenfeld was honored nationally in 1950 when a press poll of sportswriters voted her Canada’s Female Athlete of the Half-Century. She was among the first to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and her legend has carried on long past her death at the age of 65 in 1969. With the recent appearance of her portrait on a Canadian postage stamp, the tributes to her continue today.
Donovan Bailey (born December 16, 1967) is a retired Canadian sprinter who once held the world record for the 100 metre race following his gold medal performance in the 1996 Olympic Games. He was the first Canadian to legally break the 10-second barrier in the 100 m.
Born in Manchester in 1967, Jamaica, Bailey emigrated from Jamaica to Canada at age 13, and played basketball before his graduation at Queen Elizabeth Park High School in Oakville, Ontario. He began competing as a 100 m sprinter part-time in 1991, but he did not take up the sport seriously until 1994.
At the 1995 World Track & Field Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, Bailey won both the 100 metre sprint and the 4 x 100 metre relay titles.
As a precursor to the centennial Olympics being held in Atlanta, Bailey broke the indoor 50 m world record during a competition in Reno, Nevada in 1996. He was timed at 5.56A seconds. Bailey repeated the "double" at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, setting a world record of 9.84s 0.7 m/s wind in the 100 m (the previous record was set in July 1994 by American Leroy Burrell at 9.85 seconds). Many Canadians felt his victory restored the image of Canadian athletes, which had been tarnished by Ben Johnson's previous disqualified win at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Bailey was the second person to hold all the major titles in the 100 m concurrently (World Champion, Olympic Champion & World Record Holder). Bailey won a third world title in 1997 with the Canadian relay team, while finishing second in the 100 m behind Maurice Greene.
After the 1997 season, Bailey ruptured his Achilles tendon during the post season 98; effectively ending his career. He made a second attempt in the 2000 Summer Olympics for Olympic glory but suffered from pneumonia and dropped out during the rounds. He retired from the sport in 2001, having been a five-time World and Olympic champion.
Cogwagee (Thomas Longboat) (June 4, 1887 – January 9, 1949) was an Onondaga distance runner from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, and for much of his career the dominant long distance runner of the time. When he was a child a Mohawk resident of the reserve, Bill Davis, who in 1901 finished second in the Boston Marathon, interested him in running races.
He began racing in 1905, finishing second in the Victoria Day race at Caledonia, Ontario. His first important victory was in the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario in 1906, which he won by three minutes. In 1907 he won the Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:24:24 over the old 24-1/2 mile course, four minutes and 59 seconds faster than any of the previous ten winners of the event. He collapsed, however, in the 1908 Olympic marathon, along with several other leading runners, and a rematch was organized the same year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Longboat won this race, turned professional, and in 1909 at the same venue won the title of Professional Champion of the World in another marathon.
His coaches did not approve of his alternation of hard workouts with “active rest” such as long walks. When he was a professional, these recovery periods annoyed his promoters and the sports press often labelled him “lazy,” although the practice of incorporating "hard", "easy", and "recovery" days into training is normal today. Because of this and other disputes with his managers Longboat bought out his contract, after which his times improved.
Longboat's chief rival was Alfred Shrubb, whom he raced ten times, winning all the races at 20 miles or more and losing all those at shorter distances. He served as a dispatch runner in France in World War I while maintaining a professional career. He retired following the war.