In Memory: Eva Dawes, 1932 Olympic High Jumper

The Canadian Olympic Team would like to extend condolences to the family of Eva Dawes, one of only four Canadians ever to win an Olympic high jump medal. Eva Dawes Spinks passed away May 30 at the age of 96 in Thames Ditton, England.

Dawes, at 5’7’’, won a bronze medal at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games, clearing 1.6 metres. Fellow high jump teammate Duncan McNaughton captured gold at those same Games on the men’s side. The only other Canadians to reach the podium in high jump are Ethel Catherwood (Amsterdam 1928) and Gregory Joy (Montreal 1976).

Dawes (Toronto) said in a 2008 interview that her father realized she excelled at high jump and set to work helping her in that regard. At a nearby elementary school in Toronto, her father asked the principal if he could create a landing pit in an area of the playground. Soon he set up beams over which his daughter could practice high jump. With no mat, the landing pit was dug-up earth.

A gifted athlete, Dawes added a silver medal at the 1934 British Empire Games (later renamed the Commonwealth Games). Dawes boycotted the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games and did not get a shot at a second high jump medal.

Dawes will always remain a member of the Canadian Olympic Team.