Biography:

Barbara Ann Scott won the women’s singles gold medal at St. Moritz 1948 to become Canada’s first Olympic champion in figure skating. She was also Canada’s first ever individual gold medallist at the Olympic Winter Games.

After winning the junior national title at age 11, Scott claimed the first of her five straight senior national titles in 1944 when she was just 15. In a six-week span in 1947, Scott was crowned Canadian champion, North American champion, European champion and finally World champion. Upon returning home to Ottawa, she was celebrated with a parade and was presented a yellow convertible automobile with the license plate 47-U-1. But American Avery Brundage, then an IOC Vice-President, threatened her amateur status – and her Olympic eligibility – if she kept the gift.

Scott returned the car and went on to dominate her event in St. Moritz. With a clear lead after the compulsory figures, Scott took a strategic approach to her free skate. The ice had been scarred by the men’s hockey tournament, which caused many problems for her competitors. Scott altered her program so that her jumps placed on cleaner ice. She followed up her Olympic gold medal with her second straight world title and was once again gifted a car, now with the license plate 48-U-1. Turning professional, Scott performed with the Ice Capades and other theatrical productions before retiring in 1955.

In recognition of her stature in Canadian Olympic history, Scott was one of the first two torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame in St. John’s, Newfoundland on its relay across the country ahead of Calgary 1988. She also carried the Olympic flame in the House of Commons during the Vancouver 2010 torch relay. At the Opening Ceremony of Vancouver 2010, Scott served as an Olympic flag bearer.

A three-time winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy (1945, 1947, 1948), Scott was inducted to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1949, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. Scott was named to the Order of Canada in 1991 and the first ever class of Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1998. She passed away in September 2012 at the age of 84.