By Rick Brownlee / Sport Heritage Manager
If you haven’t checked out our Women in Sport exhibit in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame yet, it’s a must-see! Of course, I say that about all of our exhibits (it’s my job after all), but this one really is extra special.
The idea has been in the works for the last three to four years. When you think of all the big name athletes from Manitoba, especially in the last 20 years, so many of them are female. The likes of Clara Hughes, Cindy Klassen, Jennifer Botterill, and Jennifer Jones to name just a few.
I would put our female success up against any province in the country…that’s how strong we have been.
We also made an effort to highlight the athletes who competed earlier, during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Athletes like Sylvia Burka, who competed in an era when a lack of funding and coaching were real issues that female athletes faced, not to mention the absence of professional leagues and national championships.
So while we’ve certainly highlighted the successes, we’ve also emphasized the challenges that earlier athletes overcame to pave the way for future generations.
As for the displays themselves, we have all six of Clara Hughes’s Olympics medals. This is the first time all of her medals have been in one public place. We also have an Olympic-worn jacket of Susan Auch’s, and Sylvia Burka’s Olympic-worn skates.
I also hope this exhibit is inspiring to young girls who want to pursue their own athletic career. We have so many great role models for them to look up to.
We’re also planning to have a couple of hot stove panels where anyone can come listen to some of these athletes speak in-person inside the hall of fame before the summer ends.
The exhibit runs until the end of August.
I also want to extend a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Maple Leaf Construction Ltd., and to our media sponsors Global News Winnipeg/680 CJOB, along with the Winnipeg Free Press. We couldn’t have done it without your support.
See you in the hall!