HERITAGE MINUTES#PARTOF OUR HERITAGE

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Elfi Schlegel

HERITAGE MINUTES

#PARTOFOURHERITAGE

Elfi Schlegel won Canada's first medal in a World Cup gymnastic event.

Dubbed Canada's Shirley Temple, Elfi Schlegel tumbled into the hearts of Canadians and eventually into the homes of North Americans. Born to Swiss immigrants in Toronto, Ontario, Schlegel grew up in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where she began gymnastics at age seven.

 

When the 11th Commonwealth Games opened in Alberta on 3 August 1978, 12-year-old Schlegel competed in the Commonwealth’s first gymnastics competition. She and her three teammates won the team gold medal, well ahead of England and New Zealand.

 

Two years later, had the boycott by Canada and other Western nations not occurred during the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, perhaps Canada would have seen its first Olympic medal contender competing for the top gymnastic laurels among the world's best. Instead, the media darling became a media commentator. Schlegel ended up covering Commonwealth and Olympic games for CBC, and working with NBC covering the Olympic women's gymnastics at the 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games.

 

She was a Footprint on the mat of Canadian sport.