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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

CYRIL COAFFEE

Inducted in 1956

Member Details

Date of Birth: February 14, 1897
Place of Birth: Edmonton, Greater London, UK
Date of Passing: July 3, 1945
Sport: Athletics
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1922

Set World and Canadian record in 100-yard dash with time of 9.6 seconds

Set a new Canadian record of 1:30.0 in 4 x 220-yard relay

1924

Canadian team captain at Paris Olympic Games

Honoured Member CYRIL COAFFEE
Inspire

Story

It's often said that if Cyril Coaffee had been born ten years later, his incredible talent and focus would have been better served by a more strongly organized track and field association and better training. However, Canadians might have missed out on the thrill of witnessing a natural athlete gain victory based on raw instinct and drive, for partial paralysis of one arm was an important factor in developing Coaffee into a great sprinter. His disability forced him to use an extreme forward lean while running, enabling him to produce tremendous driving power. He began his competitive career with the North End Amateur Athletic Club in 1915. In the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games, he didn't place. However, two years later the sprinter made his mark in the Canadian championships at Calgary when he equaled the (United States sprinter Charlie Paddock's) world record for 100 yards in 9.6 seconds - a time that also stood as the Canadian record for twenty-five years. That same year he teamed with Laurie Armstrong, Billy Miller, and Peavey Heffelfinger to set a new Canadian record of 1:30.0 in the 4 x 220-yard relay. Coaffee held the Canadian 100-yard and 200-yard sprint records for several years. In 1924 at the Olympic trials, Coaffee tied the Olympic record with a 10.8 second time in the 100-yard dash and went to the Paris Games as Canada's team captain. His victories continued throughout the 1920s. He beat the incomparable Percy Williams of Vancouver in the sprints in 1926 and again in 1927. Alas, in the 1928 Olympic trials, Coaffee suffered strained tendons in both legs and was beaten out for a place on Canada's track team, signaling the end of his running career.


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