There have been a series of great African Canadian athletic achievers, many of whose names are recognized and remembered in the hearts of Canadian sports fans. These men have contributed to athletics by becoming sports legends and heroes, making Canada proud and a recognized centre for athletes. Just to name a few examples, the fastest man in the world is an African Canadian, the first recognized Canadian in the Baseball Hall of Fame is an African Canadian. Read on to find out what these men gave to the history of athletics and sports in Canada.
Donovan Bailey, at the 1996 Olympic Games, succeeded in breaking the world record time with his new world record time of 9.84 seconds in the 100 meter dash. This earned him his first Olympic gold and the title, "world’s fastest man".
When he was a young boy, around the age of 12, he moved from Manchester, Jamaica to Oakville, Ontario, where he resides today. His family upbringing provided foundation to his success because he remembers that every adult felt responsible for the children and supported their dreams to be anything they wanted to become.
Bailey credits his parents as a major source of his inspiration and strength....they taught him to achieve his dreams.
official web site:
a Donovan Bailey
Evadne Anderson, Readers Digest
Fergie Jenkins was the first Canadian in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had 20 win seasons pitching for the Cubs. He pitched in the All-star game, and had six strike-outs in one game. His talent for baseball took him to the top. He was recognized across North America as being one of the greats. He was so gifted that after finishing high school in 1962, he was asked to sign a pro contract.
Some personal facts
about Fergie: that he is "proud to be Canadian first of all"; that
his favourite stadium to pitch at is the Tiger Stadium (because it is
the oldest park); that he is a four-pitch pitcher, he throws: fast-ball,
slider, curve, and change.
Harry Jerome of Vancouver, British Columbia, won the bronze medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He ran the 100 meter dash with outstanding results. He was even the holder of the "world's fastest man” title for a while with a record-breaking time of 10 seconds. In 1971, he was awarded the Order of Canada “for excellence in all fields of Canadian life".
Just like Jerome, O'Ree quickly moved into the ‘White circles’ in the segregated society he was from. Because of his talents, he was quickly accepted and admired for his hockey abilities.
A native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, O'Ree became the first black player in the National Hockey League, working with the Boston Bruins between 1958-61, and for Canadian teams before and after.
Winks, Robin. The Blacks In Canada: A History. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1971.
Additional Sources for Further Information
Sports Illustrated, 12. October 26, 1969. pp.84-86, 89-90, 92-94. July 25, 1960, 13. pp.13, 59
Ebony, 15. August, 1960. pp.98-100, 102, 104-106.
Ebony, 16. pp.49-50, 52.
Young, A.S.Negro Firsts in Sports, 1963.
Rowan, Carl T. and Jackie Robinson. Wait til Next Year, 1960.
Robinson, Jackie. Baseball Has Done It, Philadelphia, 1964.
Young, A.S.Great Negro Baseball Stars and How They Made The Major "Leagues". New York, 1963. p.36.
Materials prepared by Carolyn Mackay.
York University 2002