Ethel Catherwood – The Saskatoon Lily

Ethel Catherwood was born in North Dakota in 1908 and homesteaded with her family near Scott, Saskatchewan. The Catherwood family moved to Saskatoon in 1925 and she and her sister were enrolled in Bedford Road Collegiate. She blossomed as a high jumper, winning gold in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Within three years, the bloom was beginning to fade.

Injuries began to plague her, and she failed to qualify for the 1932 Olympics.  However, her celebrity back home, and even offers from Hollywood, kept her in the spotlight. After a series of failed marriages, she retreated first from her country, then her sport, then her family. She reportedly sold all her medals and trophies and when asked for interviews, she expressed her disdain for sport and for Canada.

Ethel Hannah Catherwood remains the only Canadian female to ever win gold in an individual track and field Olympic event.  She died a recluse, after a battle with cancer, in 1987.

Ethel Catherwood

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