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

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

by Ron Hotchkiss


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It is July 1928, and Canada’s first women’s Olympic team — “The Matchless Six” — is heading to Amsterdam, the site of the ninth Olympiad of the modern era. Canada’s finest female track-and-field athletes, having survived rigorous training and the grueling selection process at the Olympic Trials, were determined to take their big talent and big dreams to the top. Meet Jane Bell, Myrtle Cook, Bobbie Rosenfeld, and Ethel Smith, the “Flying Four” who comprised Canada’s first relay team; Ethel Catherwood, the “Saskatoon Lily,” who became the champion high-jumper and the most photographed female athlete at the Olympic Games; and Jean Thompson, the youngest member of the team at seventeen, who became one of the world’s most outstanding middle-distance runners. It was an impressive achievement:

“A team of six from Canada, a country of less than ten million, competed against 121 athletes from 21 countries, whose total population was 300 million.” Impressive indeed.

For many years, historian Ron Hotchkiss has been fascinated by “The Matchless Six,” the conquering heroines who took Amsterdam by storm. His extensive research has led to this riveting account, full of black-and-white archival photographs, of the events leading up to and following that fateful summer in the history of Canadian sport.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887767388
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 02/28/2006
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 7.11(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 10 - 11 Years

About the Author

Ron Hotchkiss is a retired high-school history teacher, with a passion for research, and a particular interest in 20th century Canadian history. His involvement with the “Matchless Six” began while researching an article on Ethel Catherwood for The Beaver: Canada’s History Magazine. That early research spawned many other articles and interviews, and two documentaries. Ron Hotchkiss has published numerous articles about Canadian History, and does regular presentations to school groups and historical associations. This is his first book.

Table of Contents

Author's Note     vi
The Canadian Women's Olympic Trials: Halifax, July 2, 1928     1
The Olympic Games - Reserved for Men     14
Sport Was Their Life     26
Becoming the Best     44
"A Nice but Foreign Land"     67
A Good Beginning     89
Day of Heartbreak     102
Remarkable Sportsmanship     117
The "Matchless Six"     130
Dr. Lamb's Bombshell     151
A Homecoming like No Other     159
Changed Lives     173
Acknowledgments     188
Index     191

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