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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

SILKEN LAUMANN

Inducted in 1998

Member Details

Date of Birth: November 14, 1964
Place of Birth: Mississauga, Ontario
Sport: Rowing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1984

Los Angeles Olympic Games - Bronze medal, double sculls

1990

World rowing championships, silver medal - single sculls

1991

World rowing championships, gold medal - single sculls

Lou Marsh Trophy - Canada’s outstanding athlete

 

1991 & 1992

Bobbie Rosenfeld Award - Canadian Press female athlete of the year

1992

Barcelona Olympic Games - Bronze medal, single sculls

1995

World rowing championships, silver medal - single sculls

1996

Atlanta Olympic Games - Silver medal, single sculls

Honoured Member SILKEN LAUMANN
Inspire

Story

Being one of the world's best athletes earns one recognition, but overcoming the odds and demonstrating perseverance and dedication through adversity ensures everlasting honour. Rower Silken Laumann will be remembered for the tenacity she showed in overcoming injury as much as she will be for her Olympic medals. There can be little doubt that Laumann's competitive fires burned bright. She gave up competitive running in 1982, encouraged by her sister, Daniele, to take up rowing. Within a year she had earned a place on the Canadian national rowing team and, as a member of the quadruple sculls crew, won gold at the U.S. championships. In 1984, Laumann and her sister rowed to a bronze medal in the double sculls at the Los Angeles Olympics. In the late-1980s, Laumann was recognized as one of the world's top rowers. She captured the gold medal at the 1997 Pan-Am Games and a silver medal at the 1990 world championships. Awards followed her gold medal in the single sculls at the 1991 world championships, as Laumann was named the 1991 recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy, the Velma Springstead Trophy, and the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award (the first of two consecutive awards). She entered 1992 as the Olympic favourite in her event. But tragedy struck during a warm-up race in Essen, Germany on May 15, 1992. Laumann suffered a serious leg injury when her shell was broadsided by a German doubles crew. Five operations and a skin graft were only a part of her three-week stay in German and Canadian hospitals as doctors pronounced her Olympic dreams over. Laumann, however, embarked on a remarkable recovery. Unable to walk, she was helped from her wheelchair into her shell and, for five weeks, Laumann trained for the Barcelona Games. She realized her Olympic dream by winning a bronze medal in single sculls that the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity calls "the shiniest bronze medal in Olympic Games history." Laumann took a year away from competitive rowing after Barcelona to allow her body time to heal properly. She returned in 1994 to pursue her dream of an Olympic gold medal. She won a silver medal at the 1995 world championships, and the following year Laumann qualified for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta where she won a silver medal in her final competitive race.


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