Olympics

1952 - Winter Olympics VI (Oslo, Norway)

Medal Standings
 
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total
Norway
7
3
6
16
United States
4
6
1
11
Finland
3
4
2
9
Austria
2
4
2
8
Federal Republic Germany
2
0
0
2
Germany
1
2
2
5
Canada
1
0
1
2
Italy
1
0
1
2
Great Britain
1
0
0
1
Netherlands
0
3
0
3

CANADIAN MEDAL WINNERS
 
Medal
Event
Edmonton Mercurys
Gold
Ice Hockey
Gordon Audley
Bronze
500m Speed Skating

Norway, the birthplace of modern skiing, finally got the chance to host the Winter Olympics in 1952. The Norwegians used great imagination and creativity in staging the games. The flame was kindled at the open hearth of the home of Sondre Norheim, Norway's greatest skier, and relayed by 94 skiers to the Bislett Stadium in Oslo.

A lack of snow in the days leading up to the Games was an ironic problem in Norway, but a major storm arrived just in time to allow all events to go on as scheduled.

Women's cross-country skiing was on the program for the first time, along with the giant slalom for both men and women. For Norwegian fans, though, the major attraction was ski jumping. A crowd estimated at nearly 150,000 people watched as Arnfinn Bergman gave the host country its sixth consecutive gold medal in the event.

Speed skater Hjalmar Andersen starred for the home team, winning three gold medals. His winning margins in the 5,000m and the 10,000m were the largest in Olympic history. In Alpine skiing, the combined event was dropped and replaced by the giant slalom. Andrea Mead Lawrence won both the giant slalom and the slalom even though she was only nineteen years old.

American Dick Button could have won the Olympic figure skating title by merely performing a safe programme. Instead, he chose to attempt a triple loop, even though no skater had ever performed it in competition. He landed his innovative jump perfectly and the judges were unanimous in their marks.

Canada would go on to win hockey gold for the fifth time but were it not for Jim Christiansen, the team's Olympic journey would not have gotten off the ground. The Mercury dealership owner footed the bill to send the team to Norway, which included a pre-Olympic tour in which the team went 42-7-2. In the end, the Edmonton Waterloo Mercurys would play 51 games in 85 days. It's believed the entire trip cost Mercury more than $100,000 - serious money at that time. Christiansen would later die from pneumonia he caught during those Olympics.

At the tournament, the Mercurys would win their first seven games to set up a gold medal showdown against the United States, who had lost just once.

Billy Dawe and Louis Secco gave Canada a quick 2-0 lead before the Americans came back with goals from Johnny Mulhern and Ruben Bjorkman in the second period. With 90 seconds left in the second, Don Gauf gave Canada the lead once again. The Canadians withstood all the Americans could throw at them for most of the third period until Jimmy Sedin poked in the tying goal past goalie Ralph Hansch with under three minutes to play. The Canadians fired 58 shots at American goalie Dick Desmond while Hansch faced just 13 shots. The tie was still good enough to give Canada the gold medal.

The gold medal win received little play back home, buried on the sports pages of the major newspapers in Canada. The Olympic hockey teams were expected to win gold and anything less was not considered newsworthy. Little did they know the Norwegian gold would mark the last time Canada would win in ice hockey for the next 50 years.




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