10 best Canadian Olympians - Macleans.ca

10 best Canadian Olympians

Who said Canadians only excel at hockey?


Kevin Frayer/AP Photo

With the 2012 Summer Games in London now on the horizon, here are Canada’s greatest Olympians:

1. Clara Hughes (speedskating and cycling: 1 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze)
Six medals in two sports, five Olympic appearances (three Winter, two Summer) and a class act on top of it all. No one else comes close.

2. Gaétan Boucher (speedskating: 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
Who could forget his double gold and bronze in Sarajevo? Or those quadriceps? He also won silver in Lake Placid.

3. Kathleen Heddle & Marnie McBean (rowing: 3 gold, 1 bronze)
Canada’s greatest ever rowing duo left the field in their wake three times, in Barcelona and Atlanta, and grabbed a bronze to boot.

4. Hayley Wickenheiser (ice hockey: 3 gold, 1 silver)
Led three Olympic championship teams and one runner-up. Only a shortage of competition in women’s hockey keeps her out of the top three.

5. Cindy Klassen (speedskating: 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze)
Another powerhouse on the ice, Klassen won five medals in Turin (one gold), breaking Boucher’s record for most by a Canadian in a single Games.

6. Victor Davis (swimming: 1 gold, 3 silver)
A four-medal colossus in the pool, and a cut-up outside of it; one of the first
to tattoo the maple leaf over his heart, launching a men’s team tradition.

7. George Hodgson (swimming: 2 gold)
Won two golds in 1912 in Stockholm and was the last Canadian swimmer to stand atop the podium until 1984; competed for only three years and retired undefeated. Now that’s mystique.

8. Percy Williams (track: 2 gold)
Another early-century enigma, Williams won the 100- and 200-m in Amsterdam in 1928, and received a gun as a prize for his efforts. He used the weapon to commit suicide in 1982.

9. Nancy Greene (alpine skiing: 1 gold, 1 silver)
They called her “Tiger,” and her gold and silver in 1968 established Canada on the skiing scene. We never looked back.

10. Carolyn Waldo (synchronized swimming: 2 gold, 1 silver)
Plug your nose, hang upside down in the water and turn dance moves for three minutes. Do it better than anyone else at the Olympics. Twice. You are now Carolyn Waldo in 1988.

Sources: Maclean’s, International Olympic Committee

Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The answers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists, hitting stands in time for Canada Day.

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