Elaine Tanner’s Historic Year

Elaine Tanner

To this day, the youngest person ever to win the Lou Marsh Trophy is Elaine Tanner, who won it in 1966. She won the award, which recognizes Canada’s best athlete, at age 15. This year marks the 50th anniversary of her accomplishment.

In 1966, Tanner won seven medals at the British Empire Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Four of her medals were gold. She won the 110-yard butterfly, 220-yard butterfly, 440-yard individual medley and 440-yard freestyle relay. Tanner, nicknamed “Mighty Mouse,” also picked up three silvers at the meet. She was the first ever woman to win four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Elaine Tanner continued her dominance at the 1967 Pan American Games. She set world records in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke at the meet, winning gold in both events. She also took three silver medals at the meet.

In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, the Canadian continued to bolster her resume. She picked up silver medals in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, and also won a bronze in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

The Olympics turned out to be the end of Tanner’s career. She retired at 18 years of age.

In 1971, Tanner was inducted into the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.


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Campbell Brownlee
8 years ago

Bravo! Canada’s Mighty Mouse! First female in Canada to win an Olympic swimming medal another historic fact not mentioned. What a true iconic pioneer for Canadian swimming. What a hidden gem in swimming and sports history in Canada. Just google Elaine Tanner she has a powerful compelling inspirational life’s story. A must read for all swimmers parents and coaches. She has two web sites elainetanner.ca questbeyondgold.ca Sadly she was treated poorly by the Canadian sports authority. No wonder she quit swimming at an early age and withdrew from the amateur sport world in Canada. Happy 50th Elaine!… You and Canada should be very proud indeed… Thanks for putting Canada on the map in Swimming so many years ago what an underdog when powerhouse like USA Australia and Europeans never got beat till a tiny mighty mouse from the great white north came along…..

Bryan Nelson
8 years ago

Getting old aren’t you Nan?

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