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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

SYLVIA BURKA

Inducted in 1977

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 4, 1954
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sport: Speed Skating
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1976

World Speed Skating Championships, 1st place

1977

Women's World Speed Skating Sprint Champion

Combined Speed Skating title, 1st place

1978

Canadian Sprint Cycling Champion

1979

3 Gold medals in cycling at Western Canada Games

1982

Set 1km Women's indoor World Cycling record of 1:14.976

Honoured Member SYLVIA BURKA
Inspire

Story

Whether on two blades or two wheels, Sylvia Burka out-sprinted the competition. A speed skating champion as well as an accomplished cyclist, Burka earned a plethora of championship titles, medals, and records in her two sports. After claiming her first title in 1967, Burka was a fearsome force in Canadian and World speed skating scene until 1980. During that time she won five national titles, set more than 40 national records, and was a member of three Olympic teams. Burka's greatest victory came in 1976 when she won the world speed skating title. In that same year, she claimed 4th place in the 100m race at the Olympics in Innsbruck, her best Olympic result. In 1977, Burka won the women's world sprint championship as well as the combined speed skating title. Burka was not only a speedy sprinter on the ice but also at the velodrome. She began competitive cycling in 1975 and by 1978 had claimed the Canadian sprint cycling championship. She pedaled her way to 12 national sprint titles as well as victories in the 100m, pursuit, time trial, and road race events. Burka won three gold medals at the 1979 Western Canada Games and set a women's indoor world cycling record in the 1km event in 1982. It is a rare feat, indeed, for athlete to reach such great heights in two different sports. For her achievements, Burka received honoured places in the Canadian Speed Skating Hall of Fame, the Manitoba Hall of Fame, and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.


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