Canadian Olympians Have Now Won 110 Gold Medals

On February 20, 2010, a 30-year-old from Russell, Manitoba helped Canada reach a new sports milestone. Ranked fifth in the world in skeleton, Jon Montgomery won a dramatic Olympic gold medal at the Whistler Sliding Centre, triggering red-and-white streaked jubilation in the mountain town.

That medal was a special one, as it was the 100th gold medal in Canadian Olympic history. Starting in 1900, it took a little over a century to surpass the century mark in Olympic titles. Our 2010 Olympic Team did not, as we all know, stop there – instead going on to count a record 14 gold medals last February while registering countless more impressive performances. That means Canada will enter the London 2012 Olympic Games with 110 gold medals in its history, and a rising swell of confidence that flows naturally from greater and greater Olympic results, gold or otherwise.

George Orton won Canada’s first Olympic gold medal in 1900 in the 2,500-metre steeplechase. The Strathroy, Ontario native added bronze in the 400-metre hurdles. Back then, the Games did not divide up competition by nations, so it wasn’t immediately recognized that Orton was Canadian. He was presumed American because he ran for Penn State University.

At the next Games, in 1904, Canada won four gold medals in men’s football (soccer), men’s lacrosse, golf (George Lyon) and 56 lb weight throw (Etienne Desmarteau). From there, through the decades, Canadian athletes have inspired the nation by competing hard against the best in the world, forging so many great memories and moments of perseverance – which now include 110 gold medals.

The most gold medals won by a Canadian is three, and 11 Olympians have accomplished this impressive feat. They are rowers Kathleen Heddle and Marnie McBean, speed skater Marc Gagnon, and hockey players Jennifer Botterill, Jayna Hefford, Becky Kellar, Hayley Wickenheiser, Caroline Ouellette, Cherie Piper, Colleen Sostorics and Kim St-Pierre.

After the 14 gold medals of 2010, Canada’s next highest total at a single Games is 10 at the boycotted 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In non-boycott Games, Canadian athletes have won seven gold medals three separate times: the 1992 Summer Games, the 2002 Winter Games and the 2006 Winter Games. This puts to light the tremendous results from Vancouver 2010, which doubled this previous record.

Now we wait: what does the future hold?