TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule
Olympics

1948 - Winter Olympics V (St. Moritz, Switzerland)

Medal Standings
 
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total
Norway
4
3
3
10
Sweden
4
3
3
10
Switzerland
3
4
3
10
United States
3
4
2
9
France
2
1
2
5
Canada
2
0
1
3
Austria
1
3
4
8
Finland
1
3
2
6
Belgium
1
1
0
2
Italy
1
0
0
1

CANADIAN MEDAL WINNERS
Medal
Event
Barbara Ann Scott
Gold
Figure Skating
RCAF Flyers
Gold
Ice Hockey
Wallace Distelmeyer /
Suzanne Morrow
Bronze
Pairs Figure Skating

After a 12-year break, caused by the Second World War, the fifth edition of the Winter Games were awarded to St. Moritz, Switzerland and dubbed the "Games of Renewal". Neither Japan nor Germany were invited to take part, the memories of the war being too fresh.

The IOC permanently abandoned the notion of having a single host country stage both the Winter and Summer Olympics with England selected to host the Summer Games.

For the first time, North Americans won gold medals in figure skating. A 19-year-old from Ottawa, Barbara Ann Scott, who had become Canada's first world champion figure skater a year earlier, built up an impressive lead in the compulsory figures before putting on a dazzling display in her free skate to claim the gold medal despite an ice surface badly chewed up by the ice hockey competition. She succeeded Norway's Sonja Henie, winner at the previous three Winter Games after she turned professional.

In general, athletic success was evenly divided. Although 22 events were contested, only French Alpine skier Henri Oreiller and Swedish Nordic skier Martin Lundstrom were able to win two gold medals.

A major controversy over control of U.S. ice hockey threatened cancellation of the Olympic hockey tournament. The Amateur Athletic Union and Amateur Hockey Association both sent teams to St. Moritz and the IOC, unable to decide which was the legitimate U.S. representative, tried to avoid controversy by simply not holding a hockey championship at all.

The Swiss organizers protested and the tournament proceeded with the AHA team allowed to compete, but none of their results counted in the standings.

The RCAF Flyers were entrusted with bringing the gold medal back to Canada. Selected from RCAF stations across Canada and coached by Ottawa Senators legend Georges "Buck" Boucher and his son, RCAF Sergeant Frank Boucher, the Flyers were so pathetic in their first exhibition games that team officials conducts a whirlwind campaign to get the best amateur players he can find into baggy blue RCAF battledress.

Upon arriving in Europe, the Flyers play 42 exhibition games, winning 31, losing five with six ties. Once the ice hockey tournament begins, Canada reels off six wins (Italy 21-1, Poland 15-0, Austria 12-0, the United States 12-3, Great Britain 3-0 and Sweden 3-1) and a scoreless tie (Czechoslovakia). Their final game was against the host Swiss and Canada needed to win by two goals order to finish ahead of the Czech's. The Canadian side overcomes slushy ice conditions and partisan officiating to defeat the Swiss 3-0.

Canadian Press writer Jack Sullivan described the game as follows in an article which appeared in the Ottawa Journal on February 9, 1948:

Murray Dowey, 22-year-old blonde netminder from Toronto, registered his fifth shutout in eight games and Wally Halder, the team's top scorer during the games with 21 goals and eight assists, fired the shot that proved the winner early in the first period.

Patsy Guzzo, Ottawa, added the second Canadian goal in the middle period and Reg Schroeter, Ottawa, made it 3-0 before the midway mark in the third period as the Canadians clung grimly to their lead.

During the second and third periods the partisan Swiss crowd, taking exception to some of the referee's decisions, hurled snowballs at the Flyers.

The ice conditions and the refereeing were so bad that at times the game threatened to develop into a farce. The officials, Eric De Marcwicz of Britain and Van Reyshoot of Belgium, were pointedly in favor of Switzerland, some of the latter's decisions being almost unbelievable.

Halder tried to check a Swiss player at one point but fell flat. The Swiss player also went down. Halder was thumbed off for five minutes by Van Reyshoot -- "for tripping and interference". Later Heinrich Boller, Swiss defenceman, cross-checked Thomas (Red) Hibbard, who fell heavily to the ice. Both players were sent to the penalty box. Near the end of the game during a scramble in front of the Canaian goal Boller punched Dowey in the face but was given only a two-minute penalty.

"We played eight men -- the Swiss players and the referees -- and still beat 'em", said Cpl. George McFaul, RCAF trainer.

The Czech's would go on to defeat the United States 4-3 to give them seven wins and a tie which tied them for first place with the Canadians. Under IIHF rules, the team with the higher goals average would be awarded the gold medal. The Flyers scored 69 goals and allowed five for an average of 13.8. The Czech's scored 20 goals but allowed 18 for an average of 4.3.

Despite the problems, the 1948 Winter Games were unquestionably successful, with 28 countries sending 828 athletes. Alpine skiing became a major Olympic sport at St. Moritz and Gretchen Fraser of the U.S. was the surprise winner of the first gold medal for the women's slalom event.




© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television