As It Happens

First indigenous women inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Olympic cross-country skiers Sharon Firth and her late sister Shirley are being inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Sharon describes her mixed feelings at receiving the honour without her twin by her side.
N.W.T.'s Sharon and Shirley Firth, twin sisters who competed in cross-country skiing at four Olympic games, will be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame later this year. (Canada's Sports Hall of Fame )

The Firth twins were a force to be reckoned with. Tonight, in recognition of their success as members of Canada's cross-country skiing team, both Firths are being inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

All we had to do was give one another a look and we knew what we had to do.- Skiing champ Sharon Firth on her relationship with twin Shirley

Sisters Sharon and Shirley Firth represented Canada at four consecutive Winter Olympic Games from 1972 to 1984. At national championships, the sisters won 79 national medals between them.

Shirley died of cancer in 2013, but Sharon will be at tonight's ceremony. As she tells As it Happens host Carol Off, it will be a night of mixed emotions.

"We had a really good connection, because, number one, we came from one egg, and everything life we did together. I'm very happy to be sharing [the honour]. And I know that all we had to do was give one another a look and we knew what we had to do," says Sharon.

We never gave up, despite any obstacle that came in our way.- Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductee Sharon Firth

The sisters are members of the Gwich'in First Nation and grew up in Inuvik, N.W.T. As young girls they were part of the Territorial Experimental Ski Training (TEST) program, which introduced cross-country skiing to athletes in the North.

"That TEST was to see if aboriginal athletes could excel. I always say I don't know why they ever questioned that."

Sharon says her entire community is proud of her and her sister.

"We never gave up, despite any obstacle that came in our way, and I think that's a good message to send to indigenous kids and also young people from coast to coast to coast."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now