Biography:

At Berlin 1936, Aileen Meagher was a member of the Canadian 4x100m relay team and along with her teammates Dorothy Brookshaw, Mildred Dolson and Hilda Cameron, won the bronze medal, after the world record holder Germans dropped the baton in the final with Adolf Hitler watching from the stands. Individually, she was eliminated in the 100m semi-finals. Forty years later, Meagher described the team’s 1936 homecoming in an interview for The Chronicle-Herald: “There wasn’t much of a welcoming. I was met at the station by my friends. The Herald and Mail gave me a bouquet of flowers … but that was about it. No fanfare.”

 

Her passion for running began while she was attending Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her Canadian record breaking times in 1931 got her named to the 1932 Olympic team, and she even travelled to Los Angeles but because of injuries she could not compete. A five-time British Empire Games medalist, Meagher won three medals in 1934 (660 yard relay gold, 220 yard and 4×100 yard silvers) and two medals in 1938 (660 yard relay silver, 4x100m bronze). She won Canadian sprint titles in the 100 yard (1935) and 220 yard (1933, 1935).

Born in Edmonton, Alberta the daughter of Arthur and Mary Meagher, she moved with her family to Halifax in 1917. Meagher attended the Sacred Heart School and then Dalhousie University graduating with Bachelor of Arts degree and a teaching diploma in 1933, and started teaching at St. Patrick’s Boy’s School in 1934. After retiring from sport, Meagher became an artist and a full-time teacher from 1935-69. Nicknamed “The Flying Schoolmarm” by reporters, Meagher, who ran to work most days and kept her Olympic medal on her desk, passed away in 1987 at the age of 76 as an Olympic athlete, inspiring school teacher, accomplished artist, and valiant world traveller. Her artwork is held by the Dalhousie Art Gallery and her medals are held by the Nova Scotia Sports Heritage Centre. Since 1992, the Aileen Meagher International Track Classic has been held in Halifax, an annual meet hosted by Saint Mary’s University.

Meagher received the 1935 Velma Springstead Trophy as the Most Outstanding Canadian Female Athlete and the Norton Crowe Award as the Most Outstanding Canadian Athlete. She was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1965, Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame (as one of the original inductees) in 2007, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, and in 2018 was named one of the greatest 15 athletes in Nova Scotia’s history, ranking eighth.