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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

ETIENNE DESMARTEAU

Inducted in 1955

Member Details

Date of Birth: February 4, 1873
Place of Birth: Boucherville, Quebec
Date of Passing: November 30, 1905
Sport: Athletics
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1904

St. Louis Olympic Games - Gold medal for weight toss

1976

Olympic facility named in his honour

1949

Inducted into the Canadian Olympic Sports Hall of Fame

Honoured Member ETIENNE DESMARTEAU
Inspire

Story

As a policeman in Montreal, Etienne Desmarteau competed annually in Police Games in Montreal, Toronto, New York, and Boston, specializing in the 56-pound weight toss (a precursor to the modern hammer throw). In addition to the weight toss, he was a strong shot-putter and one of the best at tossing the caber and throwing the 16-pound hammer. Sponsored by the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, Desmarteau, who was refused leave from the police force, resigned his job to be part of the first ever Canadian delegation to the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis. He threw a 56-pound weight 34'4" to bring home the first Olympic gold medal Canada ever won. In 1976, in honour of this momentous achievement, a park at which some of the Montreal Olympics events took place was named after Desmarteau - commemorating how Canada started its Olympic Games journey 72 years previous. Shockingly and sadly, one year after Desmarteau brought home the gold medal, he succumbed to typhoid fever, ending a noble life as a Canadian hero.


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