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Barbara Ann Scott
Barbara-Ann Scott.jpg
Barbara-Ann Scott - March 1946
Personal information
Country represented  Canada
Born (1928-05-09)May 9, 1928
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Died September 30, 2012(2012-09-30) (aged 84)
Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida, U.S.
Height 5 ft 2 in (157 cm)
Former coach Otto Gold
Sheldon Galbraith
Retired 1948
Medal record
Women's figure skating
Representing  Canada
Olympic Games
Gold 1948 St. Moritz Singles
World Championships
Gold 1948 Davos Singles
Gold 1947 Stockholm Singles
European Championships
Gold 1948 Prague Singles
Gold 1947 Davos Singles
North American Championships
Gold 1947 Ottawa Singles
Gold 1945 New York Singles

Barbara Ann Scott OC OOnt (May 9, 1928 – September 30, 2012) 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 born on May 9, 1928, the youngest of three children born to Canadian Army Colonel Clyde Rutherford Scott and Mary (née Purves) of Sandy Hill, Ottawa. She began skating at the age of seven with the Minto Skating Club, coached by Otto Gold and Sheldon Galbraith. At age nine, Scott switched from regular schooling to tutoring two-and-a-half hours a day in order to accommodate her seven hours of daily ice training. At the age of ten she became the youngest skater ever to pass the "gold figures test" and at eleven years won her first national junior title. By the age of fifteen, Scott became Canada's senior national champion, she held the Canadian Figure Skating championship title from 1944-46.

Barbara-Ann Scott (Dec 1947)
Barbara Ann Scott - Dec 1947

In 1947, with funding raised by the community, 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. This led to her being voted Canadian Newsmaker of the Year in 1947. 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.

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. She was featured on the cover of Time magazine on February 2, 1948, one week before her Olympic debut in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Scott and Gerschwiler
Barbara Ann Scott and Hans Gerschwiler practice together before the 1948 Winter Olympics. Both went on to win medals - Scott gold and Gerschweiler silver.

At the 1948 Winter Olympics, Scott became the first and only Canadian in history to win the ladies' singles figure skating gold medal. 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.” 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. She was commonly referred to as "Canada's Sweetheart" in the press at this time, so much so that a collectible doll (accompanied by a letter from her) was issued in her honour in 1948.

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. Among her early successes was Tom Arnold's Rose Marie on Ice at the Harringay Arena in London, UK. She went on to replace her childhood idol Sonja Henie in the starring role with the "Hollywood Ice Revue" in Chicago, which became the subject of a Life cover story on February 4, 1952. The grueling schedule of a professional skater took its toll, and at the age of twenty-five she retired from professional skating.

Olympic flag carried into BC Place at 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony (cropped)
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, aged 27, she married publicist and former professional basketball player Tom King at Rosedale Presbyterian Church in Toronto. 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. During this time, Scott founded and became chancellor of the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Toronto. In 1996, the couple retired to Amelia Island, Florida. 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.

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. 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. 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.

Scott died on September 30, 2012, at her home in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Florida at age 84. Her obituary listed her name as Barbara Ann Scott King. A local arena was named after her in Nepean, Ontario, as part of the Pinecrest Recreation Centre.

Orders, accolades and medals

Barbara Ann Scott Star on Canada's Walk of Fame
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.

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 in 1998 was named to Canada's Walk of Fame. The Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail at Toronto's College Park is named after the skater.

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.

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


Year Title Role Topic
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 demonstrates 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

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