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Speedskating basics with Gaétan Boucher

The Story

There are many things to remember before you can begin to skate fast: pushing and fully extending your legs, swinging your arms just the right amount, keeping your weight centred. In this 1981 clip from the CBC-TV children's show Yes You Can Olympic champion Gaétan Boucher shows young Tammy and Trevor these basic tenets of his sport. They go through the motions in the chilly outdoors, on the same kind of open surface where Boucher mastered gliding along the ice.

Medium: Television
Program: Yes You Can
Broadcast Date: Jan. 16, 1981
Guest: Gaétan Boucher
Reporter: Tammy Bourne, Trevor Bruneau
Duration: 3:38

Did You know?

• Boucher was ranked number 10 on the list of Canada's male athletes of the 20th century, according to a 1999 survey of newspaper editors and broadcasters conducted by the Canadian Press and Broadcast News.

• In 1984 he finally won the world sprint title after placing second three times: in 1979, 1980 and 1982. In 1985 he placed second for a fourth time. In seven world all-round championships, Boucher achieved two distance wins and finished in the top three (on the podium) five times.

• In January 1981 in Davos, Switzerland, Boucher set two world records: in the 1,000-metre distance (1.13,29) and in the men's sprint event (148.175). [I don't know what these numbers mean in terms of minutes and seconds]

• Boucher was also a world-class short track speedskater long before the event was upgraded to a full Olympic sport in 1992. He won the short track championship in 1977 and 1980 and placed second in 1976, 1981 and 1982. Boucher was a member of the Canadian team that took the relay title in 1979 and 1980. From 1982 to 1983 he held the world record for the short track 500-metre distance.





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