Canada’s Olympic hopes

The July 5 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photograph of two women who were slated to run in the 100-metre dash in the upcoming 1928 Olympic Games.

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Myrtle Cook and Ethel Smith wound up collecting gold in Amsterdam: they were half of the relay team that finished first in the women’s 4 x 100 event.

Cook captained the relay team, and her time of 12.0 seconds in the Olympic trials tied the world record for women in the 100 metres and was not beaten until 1932. She became a sportswriter in Montreal, and remained a member of the Canadian Olympic Club, running the hospitality suite for the 1976 Olympic Games. At that time, she was 74, but was still fit enough to run a lap of the track after the events finished at the Olympic Stadium. She passed away in 1985.

Besides being part of the relay team, Smith earned a bronze as a solo competitor in the women’s 100 metre event. She was from a poor family, and had to leave school in the eighth grade to work in Toronto’s garment district. She retired from competition in 1929, and passed away in 1979.

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