By Ron Hotchkiss
It's July 1928, and Canada’s first women’s Olympic workforce — “The Matchless Six” — is heading to Amsterdam, the positioning of the 9th Olympiad of the trendy period. Canada’s best girl track-and-field athletes, having survived rigorous education and the grueling choice strategy on the Olympic Trials, have been decided to take their monstrous expertise and large desires to the pinnacle. Meet Jane Bell, Myrtle prepare dinner, Bobbie Rosenfeld, and Ethel Smith, the “Flying 4” who comprised Canada’s first relay workforce; Ethel Catherwood, the “Saskatoon Lily,” who grew to become the champion high-jumper and the main photographed woman athlete on the Olympic video games; and Jean Thompson, the youngest member of the group at seventeen, who grew to become one of many world’s most eminent middle-distance runners. It used to be a magnificent success:
“A workforce of six from Canada, a rustic of under ten million, competed opposed to 121 athletes from 21 international locations, whose overall inhabitants was once three hundred million.” outstanding indeed.
For a long time, historian Ron Hotchkiss has been desirous about “The Matchless Six,” the conquering heroines who took Amsterdam via typhoon. His huge study has resulted in this riveting account, filled with black-and-white archival photos, of the occasions best as much as and following that fateful summer time within the heritage of Canadian activity.
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Extra info for The Matchless Six: The Story of Canada's First Women's Olympic Team
They arrived at Southampton on July 19. wide awake at sunrise, they have been quickly busy taking care of their luggage, hauling it previous customs and onto the tiny toylike educate for London. The remedy of the women via the customs officers, although, proved an unsatisfied advent to the previous state. Gibb complained that the various officials didn’t appear to take hold of that they have been facing a collection of athletes and never a troop of showgirls. The officers insisted on digging all the way down to the ground of a few of the baggage. a number of phrases of welcome from the mayoress of Southampton, and the Canadians have been on their method. At Stamford Bridge they'd a gentle exercise routine and have been surrounded through motion picture cameramen, photographers, and journalists nervous to grasp extra in regards to the younger women whose record-breaking feats have been circulated out of the country. one more reason for the media curiosity was once the absence of an English women’s crew on the Olympics. unsatisfied with the constrained application of 5 athletic occasions, they'd made up our minds to boycott the video games. the adventure by means of steamer from Harwich to the Hook of Holland used to be noisy and cramped. The weigh down of holiday makers touring to the Olympics compelled the women to proportion small second-class cabins on a vessel whose steerage equipment appeared bent on coming correct up throughout the carry. It used to be like attempting to sleep in a boiler manufacturing facility, Lou Marsh said, and Bobbie joked that, through the journey, she had the easiest and shortest sleep of her lifestyles. Arriving in Holland at 5 o’clock within the morning, the drained Canadians fortunately found the Dutch customs officials have been extra obliging. They requested just one query — “Olympic? ” — and allowed the athletes to go, no luggage opened, and board one other dinky little educate for Amsterdam. A weary team of athletes entered town at 9 o’clock and have been scattered between 4 destinations. They got the morning to get over the frantic speed of the prior twenty-four hours. the assumption of an Olympic village have been deserted by means of the Dutch as too dear. regrettably, this avoided a few of the nationalities from mingling and changing into familiar. “We didn’t go together with athletes from different countries,” Jane acknowledged. “We met them at the tune. ” The absence of a village additionally produced an absence of lodging in Amsterdam. groups have been compelled to discover accommodations at any place they can, which intended small motels, college constructions, and boardinghouses within the urban, or extra afield in Bloemendaal, Haarlem, Hilversum, and Utrecht. The american citizens solved the matter of housing via bringing their residing quarters with them. Their send, the SS President Roosevelt, turned the team’s floating inn in the course of the video games. A bond built among the women’s and men’s Olympic groups in Amsterdam. the men may stopover at the women at their boardinghouse, and friendships, akin to these among Ethel Catherwood and Percy Williams, and Myrtle cook dinner and Vic Pickard, flourished. residing quarters for the Canadians have been prepared a number of months prematurely via Dr. A. S. Lamb, president of the beginner Athletic Union of Canada and supervisor of the Canadian Olympic crew.