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Barbara Ann Scott

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Barbara Ann Scott

Barbara Ann Scott
Barbara Ann Scott and Hans Gerschwiler practice together before the 1948 Winter Olympics. Both went on to win medals - Scott gold and Gerschweiler silver
Personal information
Country represented  Canada
Born (1928-05-09)May 9, 1928
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Died September 30, 2012(2012-09-30) (aged 84)
San Fernandina, Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida, U.S.
Height 5 ft 2 in (157 cm)[1]
Former coach Otto Gold
Sheldon Galbraith
Retired 1948
Olympic medal record
Women's figure skating
Competitor for  Canada
Gold 1948 St. Moritz Singles

Barbara Ann Scott OC OOnt (May 9, 1928[2] – September 30, 2012[3]) was a Canadian figure skater. She was the 1948 Olympic champion, a two-time World champion (1947–1948), and a four-time Canadian national champion (1944–46, 48) in ladies' singles. Known as "Canada's Sweetheart", she is the only Canadian to have won the Olympic ladies' singles gold medal, the first North American to have won three major titles in one year and the only Canadian to have won the European Championship (1947–48). During her forties she was rated among the top equestrians in North America. She received many honours and accolades, including being made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991 and a member of the Order of Ontario in 2008.

Life and career

Scott was the youngest of three children born to Canadian Army Colonel Clyde Rutherford Scott and Mary (née Purves) of Sandy Hill, Ottawa.[4] She began skating at the age of seven with the Minto Skating Club, coached by Otto Gold and Sheldon Galbraith.[5][6] At age nine, Scott switched from regular schooling to tutoring 2 1/2 hours a day in order to accommodate her seven hours of daily on ice training.[3] At the age of ten she became the youngest skater ever to pass the "gold figures test"[6] and at eleven years old won her first national junior title.[7] By the age of fifteen, Scott became Canada's senior national champion, she held the Canadian Figure Skating championship title from 1944-46.[8][9]

In 1947, with funding raised by the community,[5] Scott traveled overseas and became the first North American to win both the European and World Figure Skating championships, and remains the only Canadian to have won the European title.[10][11] This led to her being voted Canadian Newsmaker of the Year in 1947.[12] On her return to Ottawa during a parade she was given a yellow Buick convertible (license plate: 47-U-1); however it had to be returned for her to retain amateur status, to be eligible for the 1948 Winter Olympics.[13][14]

During the 1948 season, Scott was able to defend both the World Figure Skating and the European Skating Championships, and reacquired the Canadian Figure Skating Championship, becoming the first North American to win all three in the same year and the first to hold consecutive World titles.[11] She was featured as a Time magazine cover story on February 2, 1948, one week before her Olympic debut in St. Moritz, Switzerland.[15]

At the 1948 Winter Olympics, Scott became the first and only Canadian in history to win the ladies' singles figure skating gold medal.[6][16] After the Olympic win she received a telegram from Prime Minister Mackenzie King, stating that she gave "Canadians courage to get through the darkness of the post-war gloom".[17] When Scott returned to Ottawa on March 9, 1948, the car that she originally relinquished in 1947 was given back (license plate now: 48-U-1), and she also received the "Key" to the city.[13][18] She was commonly referred to as "Canada's Sweetheart" in the press at this time,[19] so much so that a collectible doll (accompanied by a letter from her) was issued in her honour in 1948.[20]

Scott officially relinquished her amateur status in the summer of 1948 and began touring North America and Europe, headlining in a variety of shows over the next five years.[6] Among her early successes was Tom Arnold's Rose Marie on Ice at the Harringay Arena in London, UK.[21] She went on to replace her childhood idol Sonja Henie in the starring role with the "Hollywood Ice Revue" in Chicago,[22] which became the subject of a Life cover story on February 4, 1952.[23] The gruelling schedule of a professional skater took its toll, and at the age of twenty-five she retired from professional skating.[6]

Opening Ceremony of the XXI Olympic Winter Games - Left to right carrying the flag, Betty Fox, Jacques Villeneuve, Anne Murray, Bobby Orr, Donald Sutherland, Barbara Ann Scott-King, Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, Julie Payette.

In 1955 to much fanfare, at the age of twenty-seven Scott married publicist Tom King in a ceremony at the Rosedale Presbyterian Church in Toronto.[24] The couple settled in Chicago, where she opened a beauty salon for a short time, then became a distinguished horse trainer and equestrian rider by her forties.[25][26] During this time, Scott founded and became chancellor of the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Toronto.[27] In 1996, the couple retired to San Fernandina, Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida.[28] She remained an influential figure in skating throughout her life; she appeared in films and TV, published books, served as a skating judge, and was formally recognized for her educational and charitable causes including donating a percentage of her earnings to aid crippled children.[5][27]

As a Canadian sports icon and marking the fortieth anniversary of her Olympic win, she was asked to carry the Olympic torch in the lead-up to the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary.[29] In December 2009, she again carried the Olympic torch, this time to Parliament Hill and into the House of Commons, in anticipation of the 2010 Winter Olympics.[30] She subsequently was one of the Olympic flag bearers during the opening ceremonies in Vancouver on February 12, 2010. In 2012, the city of Ottawa announced the creation of the Barbara Ann Scott Gallery, which displays photographs, her championship awards, and the Olympic gold medal that Scott formally donated to the city in 2011.[31]

Scott died on September 30, 2012 at her home in Florida.[3][5] A local arena was named after her in Nepean, Ontario, as part of the Pinecrest Recreation Centre.[32][33]

Orders, accolades and medals

Barbara Ann Scott's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

Scott was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991, and a member of the Order of Ontario in 2008 for her contributions to sports and charitable endeavours.[27][34] She was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1948, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1966, the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 1991, the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, and was in 1998 named to Canada's Walk of Fame.[35][36][37] Her first major honour came in the form of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's Top Athlete of the Year in 1945, which she subsequently won in both 1947 and 1948.[38]

Event 1941 1942 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948
Winter Olympics 1st
World Championships 1st 1st
European Championships 1st 1st
North American Championships 6th[39] 1st 1st
Canadian Championships 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st


  • Barbara Ann Scott (1952). Skate with me. A. Redman. 
  • Barbara Ann Scott; Michael Kirby (1953). Skating for beginners (1 ed.). Knopf. 


Year Tile Role Topic[40]
1947 Johnny at the Fair (Short film) Herself A boy is separated from his mother and father and meets celebrities on his journey
1948 An Introduction to the Art of Figure Skating (Short film) Herself Barbara Ann Scott demonstrate her unique style of figure skating
1949 Beauty and the Blade (Short film) Herself Dick Button and Barbara Ann Scott demonstrate six types of skating
1950 Hollywood Ice Capades premiere (Short film) Herself Many skating stars together
1955 What's My Line? (TV series) Herself Appears as a mystery guest – original air date: April 17, 1955
1956 Happy New Year "Sunday Spectacular" (TV movie) Herself Ice ballets by Barbara Ann Scott and Dick Button
1984 You've Come a Long Way, Ladies (TV movie) Herself Documenting the great achievements of women in the 20th century
1997 Queen of the Blades: Life & Times of Barbara Ann Scott (TV series) Herself A biography of Barbara Ann Scott - original air date: March 12, 1997
1999 Reflections on Ice Synopsis (TV series) Herself Documentary on women's figure skating

See also


  1. ^ Pearson, Matthew (September 30, 2012). "Olympic champion figure skater Barbara Ann Scott dies". Postmedia News (National Post). 
  2. ^ "Ottawa cheers for Barbara Ann Scott" (audio 3:38 min). CBC audio archives. March 7, 1947. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  3. ^ a b c Pearson, Matthew (October 1, 2012). "Canada’s Sweetheart dies at 84".  
  4. ^ "A Message Of Inspiring Faith From Barbara Ann Scott". The Miami News. February 13, 1951. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d Stevens, Neil (October 1, 2012). "Barbara Ann Scott, Canada’s Sweetheart, dead at 84".  
  6. ^ a b c d e "Barbara Ann Scott" (video 1:06 min). The Historica-Dominion Institute. 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  7. ^ Humber, Darryl; Humber, William (November 16, 2009). Let It Snow: Keeping Canada's Winter Sports Alive. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 16.  
  8. ^ Hines, James R. (April 30, 2011). Historical Dictionary of Figure Skating. Scarecrow Press. p. 201.  
  9. ^ Hall, Margaret Ann (2002). The girl and the game: a history of women's sport in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 105.  
  10. ^ Kearney, Mark; Ray, Randy (January 6, 2009). The Big Book of Canadian Trivia. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 302–.  
  11. ^ a b "Our History - CFSA Milestones".  
  12. ^ "Selections run the gamut over the history of CP's Newsmaker of the Year". The Canadian Press. 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  13. ^ a b Wallechinsky, David; Loucky, Jaime (October 9, 2009). The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics. D&M Publishers Incorporated. p. 60.  
  14. ^ "Barbara Ann Scott's Car To Be Returned". The Montreal Gazette. May 7, 1947. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  15. ^ "TIME "Ice Queen" (Vol. LI No. 5)". TIME Magazine. February 2, 1948. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  16. ^ Judd, Ron C. (February 28, 2009). The Winter Olympics. The Mountaineers Books. p. 27.  
  17. ^ Rempel, Byron (2009). No Limits: the Amazing Life Story of Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele. Twinski Publications, SHGPH. p. 213.  
  18. ^ "Barbara Ann Scott". City of Ottawa Archives. 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  19. ^ Lennox, Doug (September 30, 2009). Now You Know Big Book of Sports. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 217.  
  20. ^ "The Barbara Ann Scott Doll". Canadian Museum of Civilization. 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  21. ^ "Celebrating Women's Achievements". Library and Archives Canada. 2007. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  22. ^ "Interview with Barbara Ann Scott" (audio 06:22 min). Canada's History. January 20, 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  23. ^ LIFE "Barbara Ann Scott Her Rivalry with Sonja". Time Inc. February 4, 1952. p. 46.  
  24. ^ "Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott enters the church and weds Chicago publicist Tom King in Canada" (video 0:45 min). Universal International News. September 19, 1955. 
  25. ^ Kearney, Mark; Ray, Randy (September 30, 2006). Whatever happened to-- ?: catching up with Canadian icons. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 166.  
  26. ^ Zawadzki, Edward (September 27, 2004). The Ultimate Canadian Sports Trivia Book. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 163.  
  27. ^ a b c "Officer of the Order of Canada". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  28. ^ Perry, Heather A. (November 30, 2009). "Olympic gold - Canadians still carry torch for local woman". News-Leader. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  29. ^ "PJ Kwong on Barbara Ann Scott" (video 1:13 min). CBC News. December 10, 2009. Archived from the original on December 16, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  30. ^ "Scott brings Olympic torch to Parliament" (video 1:18 min). Canoe inc ( The Calgary Sun ). December 10, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  31. ^ "Scott legacy finds home at city hall". The Ottawa Sun. January 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  32. ^ "Pinecrest Recreation Centre". Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  33. ^ "Barbara Ann Scott Arena". Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  34. ^ "Order of Ontario Appointees by year of Appointment". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  35. ^ "Barbara Ann Scott should light Olympic flame". Ottawa Sun. November 26, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  36. ^ Danilov, Victor J. (November 1, 1997). H all of fame museums: a reference guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 220.  
  37. ^ "Barbara Ann Scott". Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  38. ^ Zawadzki, Edward (September 27, 2004). The Ultimate Canadian Sports Trivia Book. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 135.  
  39. ^ "Barbara Ann Scott, 1945 - Canada's Top Athletes - The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes". Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  40. ^ Barbara Ann Scott at the Internet Movie Database

External links

  • Barbara Ann Scott - Library and Archives Canada (Archived Content)
  • Canada's Sweetheart - CBC video archives (Jan 2, 1964 - 11:06 min)
  • Barbara Ann Scott Gallery - City of Ottawa
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