1984 Sarajevo Olympics: Gaétan Boucher
On skates and skis and snowboards, Canadians are nothing short of spectacular. From cocky snowboarder Ross Rebagliati to shy speed skater Gaétan Boucher to prairie girl Sandra Schmirler, Canada has groomed some of the finest winter athletes to take the world stage. CBC Archives presents a selection of Canada's golden winter Olympians.
• Boucher learned to skate in his own backyard when his father Cyrenus flooded the lawn and constructed a backyard rink. Hockey was Cyrenus's great ambition for his sons but Gaétan became interested in speed skating when he saw a flyer for a school speed skating club.
• Boucher showed promise at an early age and made the national speed skating team at age 17.
• Boucher found his early success in the rink addictive. He told Sports Illustrated in January 1988, "I won a medal when I was quite young. I learned what it was to be at the centre of attention. I don't know if I would have continued if I'd not won then. I learned what it was to go to a race and hear everyone whisper, 'Watch this guy.' I've enjoyed what you call this difficult life all this time because I did not want to give up that possibility."
• "What distinguished Boucher was the attention he paid to the details. He was very meticulous about trying to do each training program as perfectly as he could," former national speed-skating coach Jack Walters told CBC Television.
• Boucher was selected to carry the Canadian flag during the Sarajevo Olympic opening ceremonies.
• Covering the Sarajevo Olympics for the Globe and Mail, reporter James Christie remarked that Boucher skated with "strides that sent ice crystals dancing off his skate blades."
• Following Boucher's big wins, former Quebec premier René Lévesque reportedly said "Quebec 3, Canada 0." Boucher later responded, "I don't compete for French Canada or English Canada, but Canada as a whole."
• In 1980, Boucher was named Canadian Junior Athlete of the Year. Following his spectacular performance in Sarajevo, Boucher won the 1984 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top male athlete and was promoted from Member to Officer of the Order of Canada. Also in the same year, he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the Ste-Foy, Que., speed skating oval was renamed the anneau de glace Gaétan Boucher in his honour.
• In 1988, Boucher competed in his last Olympics before the home crowd in Calgary. A nagging injury resurfaced and Boucher was unable to stage a comeback. He finished ninth in his last race but still the crowd rose to its feet and gave the celebrated athlete a standing ovation.
• In total, Boucher competed in four Olympics from 1976 to 1988. He won silver in the 1000 metre event in Lake Placid. In Sarajevo, he won two golds (in the 1000 and the 1500) and a bronze in the 500.
• In his post speed skating career, Boucher worked for Bauer Nike Hockey as a product developer.
• Most recently, Boucher moved into the broadcasting realm as an analyst for Radio-Canada's coverage of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
• At the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Canada collected only one medal -- a silver from figure skater Karen Magnussen.
• In Innsbruck in 1976, Kathy Kreiner claimed Canada's only gold in the women's giant slalom; speed skater Cathy Priestner won silver and figure skater Toller Cranston won bronze.
• At the 1980 Lake Placid Games, Gaétan Boucher won silver and alpine skier Steve Podborski won bronze.
• At the 1984 Olympics, Boucher collected two golds and a bronze and figure skater Brian Orser settled for silver.
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: March 11, 1984
Guest(s): Gaétan Boucher
Host: Christopher Thomas
This clip has been edited for copyright reasons.
Last updated: May 24, 2012
Page consulted on January 3, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
A shy speed skater powerfully glides into the record books.
Fearless skier Kerrin Lee-Gartner puts her best ski forward.
Kerrin Lee-Gartner and her husband Max discuss her golden race.
Outspoken biathlete Myriam Bédard climbs the ranks to the top.
Team Schmirler prepares for the Olympics.
The Schmirler rink discuss their Olympic experience.
Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati wins, loses and then wins back his gold me...
Speed skater Annie Perrault puts her best skate forward.
Sport and spirituality are intimately linked for the gold speed skater...
Skating sweethearts Jamie Salé and David Pelletier prepare to take Sal...
Friends, mothers, curling champs - team Schmirler celebrate their vict...
Team Canada takes on the Calgary Royals in preparation for the Olympic...
Canada's short-track speed skaters prepare to anchor Canada's medal ha...
Rex Murphy weighs in on "skategate."
Brian Williams interviews gold-medal winner Ross Rebagliati.
Canada's cross-country skiing sweetheart was happy with third place, u...
The story behind Canada's secret good luck charm.
More than two years after finishing behind two doped skiers, gold.
On skates and skis and snowboards, Canadians are nothing short of spec...