The Life Game

Olympic athlete Valerie Jerome talks about racism and escaping to track and field

Former Canadian track and field star Valerie Jerome was only 15 years old when she set new records at the Canadian track and field national championships in 1959. But track and field was more than a sport for Valerie, it was also an escape from the racism she experienced growing up black in Canada.
Former Olympic athlete Valerie Jerome recounts how she and her siblings were pelted with rocks when they tried to attend elementary school because they were black. (CBC)
Listen to the full episode27:29

Former Canadian track and field star Valerie Jerome was only 15 years old when she set new records at the Canadian track and field national championships in 1959.

She went on to win a bronze medal at the Pan Am games in Chicago and represented Canada at the summer Olympics in Rome in 1960 alongside her brother Harry Jerome. But track and field was more than a sport for Valerie, it was also an escape from the racism she experienced growing up black in Canada.

This show was taped in front of a live audience at the CBC studio in Vancouver. The improvisers in this episode are Veena Sood, David Milchard and Christina Sicoli. It was directed by Jeff Gladstone.