Gaétan Boucher in 1982
May 10, 1958 |
Charlesbourg, Quebec City, Canada
|Height||1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||72 kg (159 lb)|
|Club||Skating Club Norbec/Skating Club Montréal|
Boucher first trained in ice hockey, the leading sport in Canada, but then changed to speed skating after winning a national title in 1972. In 1976 he took part in his first Olympics, finishing sixth in the 1000 m and setting an Olympic record in the process. In 1980 he was second in the same event, collecting one of only two Canadian medals at those Games. He broke his ankle and had a long illness in 1983, but recovered for the 1984 Olympics, where he was the Canadian flag bearer and won three medals, the most medals for a Canadian athlete at one Olympics (since bettered by Cindy Klassen). With his gold medals in the 1000 m and 1500 m events he also became the first Canadian male to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics. He retired shortly after the 1988 Games, where his best result was fifth place in the 1000 m.
Champion at the 1984 World Sprint Championships and winner of six World Championship events from 1981 through 1985, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1983 and promoted to Officer the following year. In 1984 he won the Oscar Mathisen Award, given annually for exemplary speed skating performance, and the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada's top athlete and was inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The following year was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. Since his retirement, he has worked as a French-language broadcaster and designed skates for Bauer. He was ranked number 10 on Canada's Athletes of the 20th Century and continues to inspire speed skaters in Canada to this day.
A four-time Olympic medalist, Boucher was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding male athlete of 1984. He was named number 10 on the list of Canada's Athletes of the 20th Century. In 1983, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Officer in 1984. In 1985, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.
Boucher held the Canadian record for most medals won at a single Olympics, winning three at the 1984 Winter Olympics. This was surpassed by Cindy Klassen at the 2006 Winter Olympics, who won five. He was World Sprint Champion in 1984, as well as runner-up four times.
Boucher was also Canadian Superstars champion in 1980.
Boucher's career coincided with that of Eric Heiden, and Boucher finished runner-up to Heiden in both the 1979 and 1980 World Sprint Championship. After Heiden's retirement at age 22, Boucher was among the favourites for the 1981 World Sprint Championship, but after the first day's events he was third. He then crashed out of the championship with a fall on the 500 m, and despite beating champion Frode Rønning by 1.61 seconds on the final 1000 m, he had no chance to finish anything but last. Three years later, however, he did win the title, requiring to beat Sergey Khlebnikov by 0.47 seconds on the final 1000 m; he won by 0.49 and secured the title by 0.01 of a samalog point, capping a season which also included two Olympic golds.
|1000 m||1.13,39||January 31, 1981||Davos|
|Sprint combination||148.785||January 31, 1981||Davos|
- Gaétan Boucher Archived June 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. sports-reference.com
- Sean Fitz-Gerald (24 January 2014). "Gaetan Boucher became Canadian Olympic hero before Own The Podium". National Post. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Gaétan Boucher". SpeedSkatingStats.com. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
|Oscar Mathisen Award