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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Anne Heggtveit-Hamilton, Skiing
“It’s still all perfectly clear,” said Anne Heggtveit-Hamilton as she relived one minute, 49.6 seconds on Squaw Valley’s Papoose Mountain that made her an Olympic slalom gold medallist and Queen of the ski world in 1960.
The slalom victory — she 3.3 seconds ahead of the field after sliding down the mountain twice — also earned her the FIS slalom gold and FIS combined gold as well. The Olympic combined was dropped in 1948.
“There was no last-minute race strategy,” said the noted Canadian athlete. “That was set some months earlier and the goal to peak at the right moment.”
She obviously did. Her margin of victory was exceeded by only one other gold medallist, Swiss downhiller Madeleine Berthot, who won by 4.7 seconds at Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956.
Another Canadian, Nancy Greene, had a lead of 2.64 seconds in the giant slalom when she dominated skiing at Grenoble in 1968 and Andrea Meade Lawrence was 2.2 seconds up in another GS, this one in Oslo in 1952.
Heggtveit-Hamilton then uncovered a key difference between racing in her day and racing today with the World Cup circuit. “We could aim for one event, but cup skiers must maintain a constant peak,” she said. “That is probably why the World Cup winners have problems with something like the Olympics.”
Three-time winner of the Associated Canadian Travellers athlete of the year crown, Heggtveit-Hamilton has been at the dinner as athlete, head table guest and speaker, “and I’ve always enjoyed it.”
She just recently returned from another party of interest to this area, the 50th anniversary of Sun Valley, Idaho. Among the guests were Herman Smith-Johannsen better known as Jack rabbit Johannsen and he’ll be 111 at his next birthday in June.
“He’s a bit hard of hearing, but once a name registers, he can certainly still whack you on the back,” said Heggtveit-Hamilton with feeling.
Heggtveit-Hamilton is busy herself going back to school, studying business at the University of Vermont. She still has to work out what credits her extensive business experience will be given by the university.
Returning to the years before Squaw Valley and the Heggtveit story, one finds all the makings of a classic — the unknown bursting on the scene, adversity (a broken leg), the comeback, the top five and then Olympic gold.
She was the unknown in Norway’s famed Homenkolen at Oppdal near Oslo, in 1954 when she came from out of the pack to defeat a top international field in the giant slalom.
The 15 years old Heggtveit became the youngest ever to win a race in the 50 years of the Homenkolen. She also automatically became the youngest ACT athlete of the year, until tennis player Martin Wostenholme turned up as athlete of the year at 13 in 1976. A broken leg suffered in a practise session took Heggtveit out of commission for the bulk of the 1954-55 season, but she was back for the 1956 Winter Olympics at Cortina d’Ampezzo skiing competently if not spectacularly. Consistent skiing was the key to her second athlete of the year honour in 1958. That produced “top five in the world” rankings for the Ottawa skier and augured well for the future.
She was sixth in the world championships, sixth at the Arlberg Kandahar at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, third in the giant slalom at Saarlfelden, Austria, and third in the combined in a return to the Homenkolen.
She opened 1959 with the major triumphs, the Arlberg Kandahar when she became the first non-European winner and the two-stage white ribbon combined at St. Moritz., but they were not enough for a third ACT win as Barney Hartman, not exactly a ham-and-egger on the skeet range, lived up to his growing reputation with major victories and record feats.
Though she missed out on the 1959 ACT athlete of the year she didn’t go away empty handed. The Amateur Athletic Union gave her the Velma Springstead Trophy as AAU women’s athlete of year in 1959 and 1960 and she won the Lou Marsh as of the year and the ACT honour in 1960 as well.
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Sid Hooper, baseball, football
The late Sid Hooper was frequent visitor to the Citizen sports department back in Sparks Street days so there was no surprise when he turned up one federal election night some years back.
At the time talk centered on the Maritimes and Sid, tongue in cheek, offered to bet “that Robichaud would win in Kent County (New Brunswick)”. And he almost landed a sucker, before the latter realized there were two Robichauds running for office.
Keeping track of names and numbers or how to score a Little League Baseball game was one of many reasons Hooper was named No. 2 on the special award honors list. He taught me and Henri Laperrière.
He was unquestionably the city’s Mr. Baseball. Some have said Sid could keep track of three ball games, two on radios and one on TV, and there was more than a modicum of truth to the story.
Hooper also the dean of minor football officials and took personal delight in timing the city finals. In fact, one of his last public appearances to see the Fisher-Woodsworth playoff at Lansdowne. That was the game in which Fisher quarterback Richard Zmich threw five touchdown passes in the first half and finished the game 12 for 17 for 223 yards in a title romp.
Bowling — Ken Colville
Basketball — Dennis Kennedy
Baseball — Simon Potvin
Curling — Arnie Butterworth
Football — Brien Benoit
Golf — Don Davidson
Hockey — Bernie Limoges
Lacrosse — Lally Lalonde
Paddling — Johnny Guigue
Softball — Gil Chouinard
Skiing — Anne Heggtveit
Sailing — Ian Bruce
Track and Field — Dave Dorman
Tennis — Mike Carroll
Top man with a basketball was Dennis Kennedy from interscholastic ranks… The three Ks, Kennedy, Pat Kouri and Ray Kouri gave Commerce their first major basketball win when they beat Nepean to win the Carleton University’s scholastic basketball prize… He also went onto junior basketball and helped Ted Edward’s Saslove Junior quintet to the Eastern Canada final in 1962… Dave Dorman made his first appearance as track and field’s best… Football’s top performer was U of O’s Brien Benoit, now a prominent neurosurgeon… Brother Pierre served his time as mayor of’ the city… Don Davidson, of the Eastview-St. Charles junior hockey fame, was also an able operative on the golf course leading the flock three times… The other two years were 1965 and 1968.