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Shirley Olafsson who competed for Canada in the 1948 Olympics in the high jump looks over a bit of memorabilia from that time at her home in Richmond, BC July 20, 2012. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Shirley Olafsson who competed for Canada in the 1948 Olympics in the high jump looks over a bit of memorabilia from that time at her home in Richmond, BC July 20, 2012. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Olympic flashback: Rubble in the streets, pride in their hearts Add to ...

“When I was jumping, I took off on one foot and I landed on the same foot. At the time we did the scissor jump. Supposedly, you take off on your right foot and you land on your left. I couldn’t have landed on my left foot or I would have broken it.

“After they selected the team, we had to go and get our uniforms. They were terrific: a red jacket bound with white, and a white skirt and high-heeled shoes. I was devastated because I can’t wear high heels. We had a chaperone, who took me to Montreal and got me flat white shoes.

“If it had happened today, I probably would have competed in the Paralympic Games. I’m glad I competed at the Olympics. It was like a miracle, I guess, for me. It just showed that. if you wanted something bad enough, you could get it.”


Home: Hamilton, Ont.

Age: 92

Sport: Sprint canoe

Getting there: Mr. Lane trained at the Balmy Beach Club in Toronto with his brother, Kenneth, who become a fellow Olympian. After winning bronze in the C-1 10,000-metre sprint in London, Mr. Lane went on to his second Olympics in 1952, along with Kenneth, who won silver. Father to five sons, he later taught mathematics at McMaster University, and still canoes at his cottage north of Kingston, Ont.

Being there: “When I went up to the podium, there was so much emotion in it, with the 100,000 people in Wembley Stadium. The city was pretty well bombed out, even after a couple of years of restoration. But Wembley was intact.

“I had on grey flannels and the Olympic jacket with the Canadian flag on the lapel. They raised the Canadian flag, and they played the Canadian national anthem, and of course my patriotism was involved and tears came to my eyes. I could hardly believe it.

“I remember it clearly. I remember all the details. It all comes back and sometimes it gets emotional. It still brings tears to my eyes. It was 64 years ago. That’s a lifetime. I’m very unusual in that I’m still above ground. [The medal] is on the wall here, right behind me in the TV room.”


Home: Ottawa

Age: 81

Sport: Boxing

Getting there: At 16, Mr. Sandulo won the Canadian amateur boxing title, and turned 17 just before London – making him the youngest male member of the Canadian team. The son of Russian immigrants, he devoted his life to coaching elite boxers and developing the sport through the Beaver Boxing Club in Ottawa.

Being there: “It was a helluva great experience, I’ll tell you that. I was an Olympic baby. I’m still a baby, according to my wife.

“I was really fascinated with everything that was going on. I had never been to Europe before that. I was all by myself. Well, I went with the Canadian team, but my coach didn’t come. They had a Canadian coach but he was selected for all of the boxers.

“It was a big adventure, but nervous? No, I wasn’t nervous I would’ve liked to have gone further. I lost a split decision: two judges gave it to my competitor and one judge gave it to me. But it was a controversial decision and we lost the protest.

“It didn’t change my life, no no. When I came back, I was still involved with the sport, and I’ve never left the sport. I ran the Beaver Boxing Club for all these years.”


Home: Montreal

Age: 91

Sport: Basketball

Getting there: Mr. Lands and five other members of the Montreal Young Men's Hebrew Association made up half of Canada's basketball team, with the other half from the University of British Columbia. But even in postwar Europe, he says his religion “didn’t make a difference.” The team won nine games and lost two, winning the consolation division.

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