Doug Anakin won gold as a member of Canada’s first ever Olympic bobsleigh team at Innsbruck 1964. He competed in the four-man event alongside Vic Emery, John Emery and Peter Kirby in a sport that was almost unknown in Canada at the time, didn’t have a training program, or a home ice track. They even paid their own way to the Games. All four men were highly educated (Anakin was a teacher) and were nicknamed by their competition as the “intellectual sled”. They had practically no bobsleigh experience but aboard Canada 1 and with only four practice runs under their belt in Innsbruck, Anakin and his teammates set a course record after their first run of four, and held onto that lead for the entire Olympic competition in what was the greatest upset in bobsleigh history. As underdogs, the Canadian team had upset the dominant and highly experienced Europeans, and beat the host Austrians for gold by a full second. It was probably the most unlikely Canadian Olympic gold medal in history at the time. So strong was the Canadian performance, second to fifth places were separated by only seven tenths of a second. It was Canada’s only gold medal at Innsbruck 1964.
Anakin was also one of the first luge athletes to represent Canada internationally. At Innsbruck 1964, he dropped out of the Olympic luge competition after two runs having suffered some minor injuries and running into scheduling conflicts between bobsleigh and luge.
He continued to represent Canada internationally until 1967, most notably at the 1967 North American Championships at Lake Placid, New York and the World Championships in Cortina, Italy. Upon retiring from competitive sport, Anakin became the driving force behind the Canadian luge program focusing on its promotion, designing luge tracks, and even coaching the Canadian Olympic team at Sapporo 1972.
An all-round athlete, Anakin, who wrestled at Queen’s University, was also an expert skier and mountain climber. At five foot seven inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, he was nicknamed “Mickey Mouse” and the “Olympic Dorf Dwarf”.
Retiring from his 35-year teaching career in physical education in 1990, Anakin settled in British Columbia and coached at John Abbott College for 19 years. It was due to his commitment to community and his passion for outdoor activities and sports that the school established the “Doug Anakin Scholarship for Outdoor Pursuits.” For 46 years, he owned the “Doug Anakin Sports Store” in Beaconsfield, Québec, which closed for business in 2009.
Anakin was inducted into the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1964, and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1971.
|1964 Innsbruck||Bobsleigh||Four-Man - Men||Gold|
|1964 Innsbruck||Luge||Singles - Men||-|