CBC Digital Archives

Ottawa cheers for Barbara Ann Scott

At the highest level, figure skating blends athleticism, power and strength with artistry, grace and pageantry. Canadians have shone along with the world's finest. CBC Digital Archives looks back over decades of gravity-defying throws, complex footwork, colourful costumes and complicated scoring systems.

"Hip hip, hooray!" cheers the Ottawa crowd. Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott has just returned home from Stockholm, Sweden, where she won the 1947 Figure Skating World Championship. Her hometown is honouring her with a big civic reception - and that's not all. "That lovely car that you were riding in today is yours," announces Ottawa Mayor Stanley Lewis in this 1947 clip. The sweet-natured skater is clearly grateful. "I'm overwhelmed by this wonderful reception," she tells the audience.
• Barbara Ann Scott was born in Ottawa on May 9, 1928.

• She began skating at a very young age and steadily rose to the top, winning the Canadian Junior Championship in 1940 at age 11. She was the North American Figure Skating Champion from 1945 to 1948, and was the World Champion in 1947 and 1948. She also won a gold medal at the 1948 Olympics. She was the first Canadian to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating.

• After the city of Ottawa presented Scott with the keys to a shiny new convertible at the 1947 reception (as heard in this clip), the International Olympic Committee objected, saying Scott couldn't accept this gift because of her amateur status. She returned the car to remain eligible for competition. But following her 1948 Olympic win she was again presented with a new convertible that she could now accept, because she had decided to turn professional.

• Scott retired from the amateur ranks in June 1948 and started touring with a professional company. She retired from skating altogether at the age of 25, shortly before marrying Thomas Van Dyke King and moving to Chicago.

• Scott was inducted in Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991.

Medium: Radio
Program: Special
Broadcast Date: March 7, 1947
Guest(s): Stan Lewis, Barbara Ann Scott
Duration: 3:38
Image reproduced with the permission of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Last updated: March 15, 2012

Page consulted on August 22, 2012

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