Heading into the 2018 Olympic year and the selection of our team at the 2018 Nationals in Vancouver, some of our Alumni have shared a few stories that happened off the ice during their Olympic adventure.
Hall-of-Famer Wendy Griner, Canadian Champion and 1962 World Silver Medallist recalls some of her experiences as part of the Canadian Team competing for Canada at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley.
“As far as interesting things happening to me at Squaw Valley . . . seeing all the movie stars was fun! Stars like Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, Sonja Henie and Gina Lollabrigida all came to watch the skating events. Another vivid memory is that I almost missed my competition . . . the figures part . . . because I slept through my alarm. Living in the Olympic Village no one was there to wake me up. My Coach, Mr G. [Sheldon Galbraith], finally got the coach of the ski team to bang on my door. I barely made it. Needless to say my first figure was all over the place!”
A couple of other observations. The whole venue was very small so the Games had a real feeling of intimacy and friendliness. The arena held 11,000 people and was open on one side so we could look out on the Downhill Ski runs which were so close by. There were outdoor practice rinks only … the one I enjoyed the most was located inside the Speed Skating Oval. We got to it through an underpass. It was lots of fun to practice with the speed skaters whizzing around you … albeit a little distracting!!
Because everything was so close by, we had the opportunity to go and watch some of the speed skating or downhill skiing events after our practices. There were only 650 athletes at these games …… compare that to 2800 at the Sochi Olympics.
This was the first time an Olympic Village was used to house the athletes. For me as a keen young athlete, it was wonderful to be able to meet and socialize with all the top athletes of the day.”