200 photographs for 100 years: Kate Bird’s visual exploration of BC Sports history

5 highlights from Magic moments in BC Sports’ vivid depiction of the rich athletics history of the province.

Sidney Crosby seconds after he scored the Golden Goal. - Photo credit / CBC

By: Dylan Webb, Sports Editor

Kate Bird’s Magic Moments in BC Sports History: A Century in Photo’s provides an expansive and diverse perspective on the rich athletics history of British Columbia. While the book regrettably doesn’t undertake a substantive critical analysis of the role sports played in the formation and enforcement of a colonial state, it does do a reasonable job of, at the very least, paying significant attention to the role Indigenous communities and people, as well as other communities of colour, have played in a century of athletic achievement within the province. After receiving a copy of the work soon after publication, The Peak compiled a list of five of our favourite moments from Magic Moments in BC Sports History. 

Barbara Howard wins silver and bronze at the 1938 British Empire Games. 

As the first Black athlete to represent Canada in international competition, Barbara Howard did far more than simply win medals in track at the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney, Australia. Not only did Howard break colour barriers in the world of athletics, in 1941 she also became the first person of colour to be hired by the Vancouver School Board. Born on May 8, 1920 in Vancouver, BC, Howard died at the age of 97 on January 26, 2017 after spending a lifetime overcoming racist practices and social structures in sports, education, and society in general. 

Chief Dan George holds the 1936 Golden Jubilee International Indian War Canoe Championship trophy won by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. 

Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Dan George was known more famously for receiving an Oscar nomination for his role in the film Little Big Man than he was for his war canoe racing prowess. George is pictured on page 55 with the Golden Jubilee International Indian War Canoe Championship trophy, which cemented the Tsleil-Waututh Wolves’ reputation as one of the most successful war canoe racing teams in the history of the province and the nation. 

Nancy Greene wins Olympic gold in giant slalom and is then voted Canada’s female athlete of the 20th century. 

In the introduction to the 1960’s themed chapter of the book, Bird begins by noting the immense challenges female athletes faced in taking on societal attitudes that largely excluded women from taking place in competitive sports, and even vigorous exercise. In the face of attitudes such as those expressed by Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin, known as the founder of the Olympic games, who said that, “women have but one task, that of crowning the victor with garlands” and that, “in public competitions, women’s participation must be absolutely prohibited,” Nancy Greene engaged a fearless and aggressive approach to participation similar to her skiing style. After overcoming barriers, such as limited access to equipment and training facilities, Greene secured World Cup wins in 1967 and 1968 before taking two of Canada’s three medals at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble. Because of these and other achievements, Greene was voted Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century and later became a Senator. 

Rick Hansen completes his Man In Motion World Tour.

Not only was Rick Hansen widely acclaimed for his efforts to raise money for spinal cord research through his Man in Motion World Tour, he was also a pioneer in the development of disabled and wheelchair athletics in British Columbia. Hailing from Williams Lake, BC, Hansen wheeled over 40,000 km through 34 different countries over a span of two years to complete his Man in Motion World Tour. The tour was completed upon his arrival at Oakridge Shopping Centre on May 22, 1987, to the delight of thousands of supportive Vancouverites. 

Team Canada wins Olympic gold in men’s ice hockey at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics 

On February 28, 2010, one of the most iconic moments in Canadian sports history took place at what is now known as Rogers Arena. After a battle in the corner resulted in Jarome Iginla digging the puck out of some skates and feeding it to Sidney Crosby just below the face-off dot to the right of the USA net, one of Canada’s greatest hockey players of all time scored one of the most important goals in Canadian sports history. With the overtime win over a rival American squad, Canada was, at least temporarily, able to bask in the glow of international hockey supremacy earned on home turf. With the moment known to this day as simply “the Golden Goal,” Crosby, Iginla, and Roberto Luongo who, at the time, was playing for the hometown Vancouver Canucks, secured themselves a place in the upper-echelons of Canadian sports history with an Olympic performance for the ages.