Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame revealed its class of 2017 on Wednesday and it includes three Olympians who between them have won 10 Olympic medals.
Carol Huynh made history at Beijing 2008 when she became Canada’s first ever Olympic champion in women’s wrestling, winning gold in the 48kg weight class. Four years later she added a bronze medal at London 2012. An 11-time national champion, Huynh was also a two-time Pan Am Games champion at Rio 2007 and Guadalajara 2011, 2010 Commonwealth Games champion, and four-time world championship medallist.
She was inducted to the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013. That same year, Huynh was influential in seeing wrestling remain on the Olympic program and in recognition of her role as a global leader in her sport, serves as President of the United World Wrestling Athletes Commission. Huynh was an assistant Chef de Mission for Team Canada at Rio 2016.
With her six Olympic medals, Cindy Klassen is Canada’s most decorated winter Olympian. She won her first medal, a bronze in the 3000m, in her Olympic debut at Salt Lake City 2002. But four years later she did something no Canadian had done before: win five medals at one Olympic Games. Klassen reached the podium in every event she entered at Turin 2006, the highlight being a gold medal in the 1500m. She also won silver in the 1000m and team pursuit as well as bronze in the 3000m and 5000m.
The first female speed skater ever to win five medals at one Games, her achievement was recognized by then-IOC President Jacques Rogge who called her the “woman of the Games”. One of Canada’s most versatile speed skaters, Klassen was a multi-medallist at the World Allround Championships, World Sprint Championships and World Single Distances Championships.
Simon Whitfield will always have his place in history as the winner of the first ever men’s Olympic triathlon at Sydney 2000. Far from the favourite heading into that race, with his most notable results being a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games and a couple of World Cup podium finishes, he had the confidence he could use his sprinting ability to overcome any early deficit.
Over the next four years, Whitfield won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and at seven World Cups. But after a disappointing effort at Athens 2004, he needed a new plan of attack for Beijing 2008. Calculating correctly, Whitfield thrilled the nation when he sprinted to his second Olympic medal, a silver. One of just a handful of athletes to compete in the first four Olympic triathlons, Whitfield served as Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer at London 2012.
This year’s complete Hall of Fame class includes six athletes, one team and two sport builders. Also to be inducted later this year are: former NHL player and Hockey Hall of Famer, Lanny McDonald; Mohawk lacrosse player, the late Gaylord Powless; 2003 Masters champion, golfer Mike Weir; Paralympic leader, the late Dr. Robert Jackson; scientist and neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Tator; and the Edmonton Grads who dominated women’s basketball in the first half of the 20th century. The announcement was emceed by two-time Olympic gold medallist speed skater Catriona Le May Doan, herself a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.