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Olympics

1964 - Winter Olympics IX (Innsbruck, Austria)

Medal Standings
 
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total
USSR
11
8
6
25
Austria
4
5
3
12
Norway
3
6
6
15
Finland
3
4
3
13
France
3
4
0
7
United Team of Germany
3
3
3
9
Sweden
3
3
1
7
U.S.A.
1
2
3
6
Netherlands
1
1
0
2
Canada
1
0
2
3

CANADIAN MEDAL WINNERS
Medal
Event
V.Emery/P.Kirby/
D.Anakin/J.Emery
Gold
Four-man Bobsled
Petra Burka
Bronze
Women's Figure Skating
Guy Revell /
Debbi Wilkes
Bronze
Pairs Figure Skating

Calgary's push to try and win the rights to host the 1964 Winter Olympics began with a group of sportsmen in 1957. The Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA) was formed in 1960 in order to prepare a bid for the 1964 Games. While unsuccessful in its initial bid, losing out to Innsbruck, Austria, the organization remained in existence and would bid again in both 1968 and 1972.

Prior to 1964, there was no customary site used for kindling the Olympic flames for the Winter Games. It was in 1964 that the organizers borrowed the Summer Games tradition of lighting the flame in front of the Temple of Hera in Olympia in Greece.

The 1964 Games were also threatened by a lack of snow as Innsbruck experienced its warmest winter in 58 years. The Austrian army was called in to carve out 20,000 ice bricks from a mountain top and transport them to the bobsled and luge runs. They also carried 40,000 cubic meters of snow to the Alpine skiing courses but rain caused further havoc 10 days before the Opening Ceremony. Conditions at all venues were unsatisfactory, and partly blamed for the deaths of an Australian skier and a British bobsleigh racer during practice runs.

For the first time, Canadians took part in the bobsleigh event. On the very first run of the day, the team of Vic and John Emery, Peter Kirby and Doug Anakin set a new course record, giving them a lead they would not relinquish. Canada's total time was more than a second better than the second place Austrian foursome.

Figure skater Petra Burka brought home a bronze medal in the singles competition while the pairs team of Debbi Wilkes and Guy Revell settled for third in their competition.

Russian speedskater Lidiya Skoblikova became the first woman to win all four speed skating events in the same Games, setting new Olympic records in the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m. She was only deprived of a fourth record by adverse ice conditions in the 3,000m. When the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games began, Skoblikova was considered the heavy favorite in the 1,000, the 1,500 and the 3,000, but was thought to be vulnerable in the 500m, the first women's speed skating race of the Games. In fact, Skoblikova led a Russian sweep in the 500. The next day, she set an Olympic record in the 1,500m, winning by 2.9 seconds, the largest margin to date in the history of the event. She went on to win the 1,000m and the 3,000m to become the first person to earn four gold medals in a single Winter Olympics. She was also the first winter athlete to win six career gold medals and she remains the only woman in the history of the Winter Olympics to win six gold medals in individual events.

Italian bobsledder Eugenio Monti became the first recipient of the De Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship after helping the British team of Tony Nash and Robin Dixon win the gold medals after loaning them an axle bolt to replace one that had broken on their sled. Monti's team settled for the bronze.

The 1964 Games also marked a turning point in Canadian Olympic hockey history. For the first time, the nation would be represented by a national team rather than a club team. The idea was the brainchild of Father David Bauer - the younger brother of NHL great Bobby Bauer, who played on the famous Kraut Line in Boston. The Canadian team, which included the likes of Brian Conacher, son of the great Lionel Conacher and Terry Clancy, son of NHL great King Clancy, was considered strong on defence but short on goal scoring. Goaltender Seth Martin, who won the world championship with the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1961, had the most international experience of any player on the team and was the oldest at 31.

After watching the team struggle in pre-Olympic exhibition games, observers gave the Canadians little chance of winning a medal. But Canada started strong, winning 8-0 over Switzerland and they would chalk up four more wins, including a 6-4 win over the defending gold medalists from the United States. Against Czechoslovakia, Canada led 1-0 and goaltender Seth Martin looked unbeatable until Czech forward Miroslav Vlach ran into him on a clearing play, hurting his knee. He was replaced by Ken Broderick, who surrendered three goals and Canada lost 3-1.

Canada's final game was against the Soviets, who had won all six of their games. Canada, needing a win to clinch the gold, jumped out to a 1-0 lead. The Soviets tied it in the second before Bob Forhan made it 2-1 for Canada. The Soviets stormed back to tie the game with two minutes left in the second. For the start of the third, the Canadians made a goaltending change, inserting Martin even though his knee was not 100-percent. Bauer felt the presence of Martin would be enough to throw the Soviets off their game. Soviet coach Anatoli Tarasov responded by telling his players not to shoot unless they were certain to score - he did not want to give Martin a chance to warm up in the nets. The Soviets would score on their first shot of the third to take a 3-2 lead. Martin would face 18 more shots in the period, but would stop them all. Unfortunately, the Canadians could not tally the equalizer, giving the Soviets the win and the gold.

At 5-2, Canada was tied with Czechoslovakia and Sweden for second place but based on goal differential, Canada would be placed third behind the Swedes with the Czechs in fourth. Olympic officials surprised the Canadians by ruling that the tie-breaker would be goal differential based on the entire tournament - not just among teams involved in the medal round. That decision moved the Czechs up into third and dropped Canada to fourth, out of the medals for the first time in Olympic hockey history.

* - In 2005 the International Ice Hockey Federation attempted to pass a motion which would have awarded Canada the bronze medal but only for the World Championship result. The IIHF later changed its mind and decided not to alter the results. Canada's rep on the IIHF, Murray Costello, supported the federation's decision not to give a bronze medal. He says doing so would open a Pandora's box and bring other decisions into question.

"We will do everything we can in Hockey Canada's power to get this medal for the players," stated Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson.

In September of 2005, the IIHF rejected Hockey Canada's appeal and the results remained unchanged.

"I'm disappointed and disappointed for the players," said Nicholson.



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