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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

CHARLES GORMAN

Inducted in 1955

Member Details

Date of Birth: July 6, 1897
Place of Birth: Saint John, New Brunswick
Date of Passing: February 2, 1940
Sport: (Builder)
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1924-26

National Outdoor Titles

1924

North American Outdoor Title

1926-28

North American Indoor Title

1926

World Speed Skating Title

1927

Five championship titles, two world records

Honoured Member CHARLES GORMAN
Inspire

Story

Charles Gorman dominated the North American speed skating scene during the mid-1920s, earning him such titles as the "Man with the Million Dollar Legs" and the "Human Dynamo." Gorman was a local baseball star in his native New Brunswick but turned down an offer from the New York Yankees in order to pursue speed skating. He won his first Canadian outdoor championship in 1924 and went on to take the North American outdoor title at Sarnac Lake. Unfortunately, Gorman did not fare too well at the Olympics that year. The Games employed the European style of speed skating in which contestants skate two at a time against a clock. In North America, all skaters compete at once; therefore, the race becomes more about strategically maneuvering around opponents. Though Gorman was as fast as a bullet on skates, the more combative North American system was much more suited to his pugnacious style. Gorman came back with a vengeance in 1926. After winning the national outdoor and the North American indoor titles, Gorman beat Olympic champion Clas Thunberg of Finland to claim the World Championship. The following year, Gorman proved that his legs truly were worth a million dollars when he claimed the mid-Atlantic championship, the U.S. national outdoor championship, the Canadian indoor championship, the international outdoor championship, and the international indoor championship. In the process, he retained his world title, broke the record for the 1/6 mile event, and shaved a second off his own mark for 440 yards. Gorman returned to the Olympics in 1928 but his hopes of a better performance were shattered when a competitor fell in his path during the 500m competition. Officials denied that there had been any interference and his pleas for a second chance fell on deaf ears. Gorman left the Games immediately, refusing to compete in the 5,000m event. In the eyes of his Canadian fans, however, Gorman's outstanding achievements outshone his grave Olympic disappointment. The North American records he set in the 220-yard indoor, the 440-yard indoor, the 440-yard outdoor, and the 1/6 mile events still stand.


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