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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

GAETAN BOUCHER

Inducted in 1984

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 10, 1958
Place of Birth: Charlesbourg, Quebec
Sport: (Builder)
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1980

Olympic Games at Lake Placid, silver medal in 1000m

1981

World record in 1000m of 1:13.29

World record in men's sprint of 148.785 all-around points

1984

Olympics in Sarajevo, bronze medal in 500m, gold medals in 100m and 1500m

First Canadian male to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Olympics

World Speed Skating Championships, 1st place

Lou Marsh Trophy

Honoured Member GAETAN BOUCHER
Inspire

Story

Prior to 1984, no Canadian male had ever won an individual gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games, and Canada's athletes had not found gold at the Summer Games since 1972. Then along came speed skater Gaetan Boucher, who collected three medals, two gold and a bronze, at the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo. Adding his silver from the 1980 Olympics to these magnificent victories, Boucher became one of the nation's most decorated Olympians. Boucher first took speed skating lessons in order to improve his skills in hockey. By the age of 14, however, he was concentrating solely on the speed sport and was well on his way to his first Canadian championship. In 1976, he competed at his first Olympics, finishing sixth in the 1000m event. Although his rapid development continued, it seemed that he was destined to always finish in second place. The Lake Placid Olympics will always be remembered for the five gold medal sweep by Eric Heiden in speed skating. Boucher finished second to him in the 1,000m race, winning one of Canada's two medals at those games. He again placed second at the World Sprint Championships in both 1980 and 1982, an outstanding achievement, but not the glittering gold he so desired. After Heiden retired, it was thought that Boucher would succeed him. However, illness suffered throughout the winter of 1983 resulted in mediocre performances that year. He was ninth overall at the World Championships, and his season ended prematurely after he shattered his ankle. Miraculously rebounding from this setback, Boucher established himself as the man to beat in Sarajevo with several pre-Olympic victories. At the 1984 Games, he first claimed a bronze in the 500m race, and then, displaying great confidence in himself, he found his gold medals at last in the 1,000m and the 1,500m events. Boucher's success did not end in Sarajevo. He went on to demonstrate his superiority in the sprints by defeating his arch rival, Sergei Khlebnikov of the USSR, at the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships to claim the title. Boucher received a hero's welcome upon his return to Canada. He received the Lou Marsh Trophy as the nation's most outstanding athlete and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.


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