Early Years

The first Olympic Winter Games took place in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Canada’s first female Winter Olympian was 15-year-old Cecil Smith, who finished sixth in the women’s figure skating competition and seventh in the pairs competition with Melville Rogers. Cecil Smith, her sister Maude “Jim” Smith, and Constance Wilson competed for Canada in figure skating at the 1928 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz; all three finished in the top ten. The Canadian Olympic Association also sent figure skaters to the 1932 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, USA, and, for the first time, sent female alpine skiers to the 1936 Olympic Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Canada’s First Female Olympic Winter Gold Medalist

The Olympic Winter Games did not take place for 12 years because of the Second World War. When they re-convened in 1948, Canada’s Barbara Ann Scott was poised to make history. Scott won the ladies’ singles figure skating competition at the 1947 World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, becoming the first North American (male or female) to win a world figure skating title. She came back to Canada a heroine and was presented with a car from the city of Ottawa. (Unfortunately, Scott had to return the car to keep her amateur status.) At the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Scott skated flawlessly, and became Canada’s first female Olympic Winter gold medalist. According to the CBC, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King recognized Scott for giving “Canadians courage to get through the darkness of the post-war gloom.” She thus earned the title “Canada’s Sweetheart”.

Excellence In Alpine Skiing

At the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Lucile Wheeler became the first Canadian (male or female) to medal in alpine skiing when she won bronze in the women’s downhill.

Wheeler would be the first of many Canadian skiers to excel at the Olympic Winter Games. Four years later, at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Anne Heggtveit won gold in the women’s slalom. At the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble, Nancy Greene became the first Canadian woman to win two medals at an Olympic Winter Games when she won gold in the giant slalom and silver in the slalom. In 1999, Greene was named Canada’s top female athlete of the 20th century.

At the 1976 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria, 18-year-old Kathy Kreiner won the gold medal in the women’s giant slalom. Two more Canadians would achieve alpine skiing stardom — Karen Percy won two bronze at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary (women’s downhill and super giant slalom), and Kerrin Lee-Gartner> won gold in the women’s downhill at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville.

Legacy Of The 1988 Olympic Winter Games

Since the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, Canadian women have won an impressive 67 medals. A major reason for this success was the legacy of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, particularly the new facilities built for the Olympics, including a speed skating oval at the University of Calgary. Access to such facilities significantly benefited Canadian athletes, and from 1994 to 2010, Canadian women won an unprecedented 18 medals in long track speed skating. Catriona Le May Doan won back-to-back Olympic titles in the women’s 500m in 1998 and 2002; Cindy Klassen won five medals (a Canadian record) at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy; and Christine Nesbitt won the women’s 1000m at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Gender Equality At The Olympic Games

A second major reason for Canadian success over the last 20 years is the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) commitment to gender equality in Olympic winter sports. The IOC’s commitment has provided more opportunities for Canadian women as it opened up more sports for women generally at the Games. In 1994, Myriam Bédard won two gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, in women’s biathlon>, a sport which debuted in 1992. At the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, women’s hockey was included for the first time, and since then Canada has won four gold medals (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canadian women finished first and second in women’s bobsled, an event which only made its Olympic debut in 2002 (despite the fact men’s bobsled has been in the Olympic Winter Games since 1924). Meanwhile, Beckie Scott and Chandra Crawford have won gold medals in cross-country skiing events that have been added to the Olympic program since 1992.

Canadian Success In New Sports

In the last two decades, Canadian women have excelled in the new Olympic sports of freestyle skiing, curling, short-track speed skating, and snowboarding. In short-track speed skating, Canadian women have won 11 medals since 1992. At the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, skip Sandra Schmirler and her team won the gold medal in women’s curling. (Sadly, just over two years later Schmirler died of cancer.) Canadian women have also medalled in curling at the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

At the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Jennifer Heil became the third Canadian woman in four years to medal in freestyle skiing when she won gold in women’s moguls (she won silver in the same event in 2010). At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Ashleigh McIvor won an Olympic gold medal in the debut of women’s ski cross. In snowboarding, which made its Olympic debut in 1998, Maëlle Ricker became Canada’s first female champion in the sport when she won the women’s snowboard cross at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Canadian Women at Sochi 2014

At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Canadian women contributed to 13 medals. This included six gold medals, all in women’s events that have only joined the Olympic program since 1992: moguls, slopestyle skiing, bobsled, ski cross, curling and hockey.

Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse defended their Olympic title in women’s bobsled from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Marielle Thompson became the second consecutive Canadian woman to win Olympic gold in ski cross, following in the footsteps of McIvor. Her teammate, Kesley Serwa, took silver in the event. Dara Howell was the first Olympic champion in women’s slopestyle skiing, which made its debut at the 2014 Games. Joining her on the podium was Kim Lamarre, who won bronze.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe became the youngest freestyle skiing champion in Olympic history at 19 years of age. She and her sister, Chloe, finished first and second in women’s moguls, becoming the first Canadian sisters to share the podium in a single event at the Olympic Winter Games.

In women’s hockey, Team Canada won its fourth straight gold medal, beating the United States 3–2 in overtime in a dramatic gold medal game. Marie-Philip Poulin scored the game-tying goal with 55 seconds left in the third period and then the overtime winner. It was the fourth straight gold medal for Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette.

In curling, the Canadian team skipped by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones made history by becoming the first women’s team to go through an entire Olympic Winter Games undefeated. Team Canada had a record of 11-0 and beat Sweden 6-3 in the gold medal game.

Canadian Female Medalists at the Olympic Winter Games

Games
Athlete Sport (Event) Medal
1948 Barbara Ann Scott Figure Skating (Singles) Gold
1948 Suzanne Morrow Figure Skating (Pairs) Bronze
1956 Frances Dafoe Figure Skating (Pairs) Silver
1956 Lucile Wheeler Alpine Skiing (Downhill) Bronze
1960 Anne Heggtveit Alpine Skiing (Slalom) Gold
1960 Barbara Wagner Figure Skating (Pairs) Gold
1964 Petra Burka Figure Skating (Singles) Bronze
1964 Debbi Wilkes Figure Skating (Pairs) Bronze
(later awarded silver)
1968 Nancy Greene Alpine Skiing (Giant Slalom) Gold
1968 Nancy Greene Alpine Skiing (Slalom) Silver
1972 Karen Magnussen Figure Skating (Singles) Silver
1976 Kathy Kreiner Alpine Skiing (Giant Slalom) Gold
1976 Cathy Preistner Speed Skating (500m) Silver
1988 Elizabeth Manley Figure Skating (Singles) Silver
1988 Karen Percy Alpine Skiing (Downhill) Bronze
1988 Karen Percy Alpine Skiing (Super Giant Slalom) Bronze
1988 Tracy Wilson Figure Skating (Ice Dancing) Bronze
1992 Kerrin Lee-Gartner Alpine Skiing (Downhill) Gold
1992 Angela Cutrone
Sylvie Daigle
Nathalie Lambert
Annie Perreault
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Gold
1992 Myriam Bédard Biathlon (15 km Individual) Bronze
1992 Isabelle Brasseur Figure Skating (Pairs) Bronze
1994 Myriam Bédard Biathlon (7.5 km Sprint) Gold
1994 Myriam Bédard Biathlon (15 km Individual) Gold
1994 Nathalie Lambert Short Track Speed Skating
(1000m)
Silver
1994 Christine Boudrias
Isabelle Charest
Angela Cutrone
Sylvie Daigle
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Silver
1994 Susan Auch Speed Skating (500m) Silver
1994 Isabelle Brasseur Figure Skating (Pairs) Bronze
1998 Sandra Schmirler
Jan Betker
Joan McCusker
Marcia Gudereit
Atina Ford
Curling Gold
1998 Annie Perreault Short Track Speed Skating
(500m)
Gold
1998 Catriona Le May Doan Speed Skating (500m) Gold
1998 Jennifer Botterill
Therese Brisson
Cassie Campbell
Judy Diduck
Nancy Drolet
Lori Dupuis
Danielle Goyette
Geraldine Heaney
Jayna Hefford
Becky Kellar (Duke)
Kathy McCormack
Karen Nystrom
Lesley Reddon
Manon Rhéaume
Laura Schuler
Fiona Smith-Bell
France St-Louis
Vicky Sunohara
Hayley Wickenheiser
Stacy Wilson
Hockey Silver
1998 Susan Auch Speed Skating (500m) Silver
1998 Christine Boudrias
Isabelle Charest
Annie Perreault
Tania Vicent
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Bronze
1998 Catriona Le May Doan Speed Skating (1000m) Bronze
2002 Beckie Scott Cross Country Skiing
(10 km Pursuit)
Gold
2002 Jamie Salé Figure Skating (Pairs) Gold
2002 Dana Antal
Jennifer Botterill
Therese Brisson
Kelly Béchard
Cassie Campbell
Isabelle Chartrand
Lori Dupuis
Danielle Goyette
Geraldine Heaney
Jayna Hefford
Becky Kellar
Caroline Ouellette
Cherie Piper
Cheryl Pounder
Tammy Shewchuk
Sami Jo Small
Colleen Sostorics
Kim St-Pierre
Vicky Sunohara
Hayley Wickenheiser
Hockey Gold
2002 Catriona Le May Doan Speed Skating (500m) Gold
2002 Veronica Brenner Freestyle Skiing (Aerials) Silver
2002 Deidra Dionne Freestyle Skiing (Aerials) Bronze
2002 Diane Dezura
Kelley Law
Cheryl Noble
Julie Skinner
Georgina Wheatcroft
Curling Bronze
2002 Isabelle Charest
Marie-Eve Drolet
Amélie Goulet-Nadon
Alanna Kraus
Tania Vicent
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Bronze
2002 Cindy Klassen Speed Skating (3000m) Bronze
2002 Clara Hughes Speed Skating (5000m) Bronze
2006 Chandra Crawford Cross Country Skiing
(1.1 km Sprint)
Gold
2006 Jennifer Heil Freestyle Skiing (Moguls) Gold
2006 Meghan Agosta
Gillian Apps
Jennifer Botterill
Cassie Campbell
Gillian Ferrari
Danielle Goyette
Jayna Hefford
Becky Kellar
Gina Kingsbury
Charline Labonté
Carla MacLeod
Caroline Ouellette
Cherie Piper
Cheryl Pounder
Colleen Sostorics
Kim St-Pierre
Vicky Sunohara
Sarah Vaillancourt
Katie Weatherston
Hayley Wickenheiser
Hockey Gold
2006 Cindy Klassen Speed Skating (1500m) Gold
2006 Clara Hughes Speed Skating (5000m) Gold
2006 Beckie Scott
Sara Renner
Cross Country Skiing (Sprint) Silver
2006 Alanna Kraus
Anouk Leblanc-Boucher
Amanda Overland
Kalyna Roberge
Tania Vincent
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Silver
2006 Kristina Groves
Clara Hughes
Cindy Klassen
Christine Nesbitt
Shannon Rempel
Speed Skating (Team Pursuit) Silver
2006 Cindy Klassen Speed Skating (1000m) Silver
2006 Kristina Groves Speed Skating (1500m) Silver
2006 Glenys Bakker
Sandra Jenkins
Christine Keshen
Shannon Kleibrink
Amy Nixon
Curling Bronze
2006 Anouk Leblanc-Boucher Short Track Speed Skating
(500m)
Bronze
2006 Melissa Hollingsworth Skeleton Bronze
2006 Dominique Maltais Snowboarding
(Snowboard Cross)
Bronze
2006 Cindy Klassen Speed Skating (3000m) Bronze
2006 Cindy Klassen Speed Skating (5000m) Bronze
2010 Meghan Agosta
Gillian Apps
Tessa Bonhomme
Jennifer Botterill
Jayna Hefford
Haley Irwin
Rebecca Johnston
Becky Kellar
Gina Kingsbury
Charline Labonté
Carla MacLeod
Meaghan Mikkelson
Caroline Ouellette
Cherie Piper
Marie-Philip Poulin
Colleen Sostorics
Kim St-Pierre
Shannon Szabados
Sarah Vaillancourt
Catherine Ward
Hayley Wickenheiser
Hockey Gold
2010 Maëlle Ricker
Snowboarding
(Snowboard Cross)
Gold
2010 Ashleigh McIvor Freestyle Skiing (Ski Cross) Gold
2010 Tessa Virtue Figure Skating (Ice Dancing) Gold
2010 Christine Nesbitt Speed Skating (1000m) Gold
2010 Kaillie Humphries
Heather Moyse
Bobsled (Two-Woman) Gold
2010 Jennifer Heil Freestyle Skiing (Moguls) Silver
2010 Marianne St-Gelais Short Track Speed Skating
(500m)
Silver
2010 Kristina Groves Speed Skating (1500m) Silver
2010 Cori Bartel
Cheryl Bernard
Carolyn Darbyshire-McRorie
Kristie Moore
Susan O'Connor
Curling Silver
2010 Helen Upperton
Shelley-Ann Brown
Bobsled (Two-Woman) Silver
2010 Jessica Gregg
Kalyna Roberge
Marianne St-Gelais
Tania Vicent
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Silver
2010 Kristina Groves Speed Skating (3000m) Bronze
2010 Clara Hughes Speed Skating (5000m) Bronze
2010 Joannie Rochette Figure Skating (Singles) Bronze
2014 Justine Dufour-Lapointe Freestyle Skiing (Moguls) Gold
2014 Dara Howell Freestyle Skiing
(Slopestyle Skiing)
Gold
2014 Kaillie Humphries
Heather Moyse
Bobsled (Two-Woman) Gold
2014 Mélodie Daoust
Geneviève Lacasse
Shannon Szabados
Laura Fortino
Jocelyne Larocque
Jenn Wakefield
Jayna Hefford
Meaghan Mikkelson
Catherine Ward
Haley Irwin
Caroline Ouellette
Tara Watchorn
Brianne Jenner
Marie-Philip Poulin
Hayley Wickenheiser
Hockey Gold
2014 Marielle Thompson Freestyle Skiing (Ski Cross) Gold
2014 Jennifer Jones
Kaitlyn Lawes
Dawn McEwen
Jill Officer
Kirsten Wall
Curling Gold
2014 Chloé Dufour-Lapointe
Freestyle Skiing (Moguls) Silver
2014 Team
Meagan Duhamel
Kristen Moore-Towers
Kaetlyn Osmond
Tessa Virtue
Figure Skating (Team Event)
Pairs
Pairs
Women
Ice Dancing
Silver
2014 Tessa Virtue Figure Skating (Ice Dancing) Silver
2014 Marie-Ève Drolet
Jessica Hewitt
Valérie Maltais
Marianne St-Gelais
Short Track Speed Skating
(3000m Relay)
Silver
2014 Dominique Maltais Snowboarding
(Snowboard Cross)
Silver
2014 Kelsey Serwa Freestyle Skiing (Ski Cross) Silver
2014 Kim Lamarre Freestyle Skiing (Slopestyle Skiing) Bronze