The Matchless Six: The Story of Canada's First Women's Olympic Team

By Ron Hotchkiss

It really is July 1928, and Canada’s first women’s Olympic group — “The Matchless Six” — is heading to Amsterdam, the location of the 9th Olympiad of the fashionable period. Canada’s most interesting lady track-and-field athletes, having survived rigorous education and the grueling choice approach on the Olympic Trials, have been decided to take their mammoth expertise and massive desires to the head. Meet Jane Bell, Myrtle cook dinner, Bobbie Rosenfeld, and Ethel Smith, the “Flying 4” who comprised Canada’s first relay staff; Ethel Catherwood, the “Saskatoon Lily,” who turned the champion high-jumper and the main photographed girl athlete on the Olympic video games; and Jean Thompson, the youngest member of the staff at seventeen, who turned one of many world’s most eminent middle-distance runners. It was once a powerful success:

“A workforce of six from Canada, a rustic of below ten million, competed opposed to 121 athletes from 21 nations, whose overall inhabitants used to be three hundred million.” notable indeed.

For decades, historian Ron Hotchkiss has been serious about “The Matchless Six,” the conquering heroines who took Amsterdam through hurricane. His large study has ended in this riveting account, packed with black-and-white archival photos, of the occasions top as much as and following that fateful summer time within the heritage of Canadian recreation.

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She nonetheless desired to be the winner, however it might by no means be. Her hopes of Olympic glory were perpetually dashed via the second one fake commence. “Myrtle didn’t are looking to consult anyone or have something to do with anybody,” Jane stated. She used to be devastated. Myrtle blamed her removal on severe anxiety and instructions given in a international language. Her pal and teammate, Ethel Smith, additionally attributed the disqualification to the German starter, yet for a unique cause. Myrtle used to be used to the fellow who began the races at lots of the Toronto meets, Ethel stated.

Percy Williams smiles for the digital camera following the 2 hundred meters race. at the picture he has written: “To Bobby Robinson. a true activity and a very good supervisor. (Remember the boat domestic) constantly, Percy Williams, a hundred & two hundred M. , Olympics 1928. ” whereas the habit of the Canadian officers divided their ranks in Amsterdam and stirred up a tempest at domestic, the athletes went in regards to the company of competing. The qualification of Percy Williams for the two hundred meters ultimate raised hopes for a moment championship, anything not anyone imagined firstly of the Olympics.

In October, Ethel Smith married, and the individuals of the women’s group, other than Ethel Catherwood, who was once in Saskatoon, attended. Bobbie Rosenfeld, now a revenues consultant at Patterson goodies, lower back to her lifetime of hockey and basketball. Myrtle cook dinner used to be training the Canadian women’ tune athletes once again and coaching not easy in her spare time, hopeful of a chance to compete opposed to Elizabeth Robinson. Ethel Catherwood used to be on the Royal Conservatory of tune in Toronto, learning piano, and finishing her enterprise direction at Shaw’s.

The German starter gave the command, “auf die Plätze! ” and the runners took their marks. The stadium fell silent as recognition concerned about the ladies crouched at the music. From the place she was once sitting, Jane inspiration Myrtle regarded fearful. “Fertig. ” Then, because the crowd waited for the gun, certainly one of six bolted and photographs have been heard, signaling a fake begin. It was once Myrtle cook dinner. She lower back to the beginning line and was once warned by way of the starter. back the ladies have been commanded, “auf die Plätze! ” then, “fertig. ” This time runners left too quickly and charged up the song till recalled by way of the gun.

As a result of her performances within the a hundred and 800 meters, Bobbie grew to become a favourite of eu journalists, who sought to grasp extra approximately her. As traditional, she downplayed her feats via making mild of them. while the correspondents requested her approximately education, she observed a chance to have a few enjoyable. She informed them she practised in simple terms two times every week simply because, at a hundred and twenty kilos, she lacked the stamina to do extra. Then, with a twinkle in her eye, she additional that she wanted a minimum of pints of beer an afternoon to take care of her energy.

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