The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Gaetan Boucher

Speed-Skating

1984


Photo of Gaetan Boucher speed skating at the 1984 Olympics

Photo of Gaetan Boucher speed skating at the 1984 Olympics

Date
1984
Collection
Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

1984, Winter Olympics, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zetra Ice Rink

A bronze medal isn’t always on the top of an Olympic wish list but speed skater Gaetan Boucher is ecstatic with his in the 500-metre. His objective is to win three medals at these Olympics and the 500 has been a mediocre event for him in the past, finishing 14th in 1980 at Lake Placid.

Gaetan has come to these Olympics more confident than ever. A world-class skater he often dominated all year and then panicked at the big races. He’s found the missing piece. Sylvia Burka-Lovell told him he had to ease up at the beginning of a race or he’ll never win. He’s learned how to relax and race his own race. The injury a year earlier forced a training workaholic to take a well needed break. It seems to have helped although he still questions his endurance.

With the 500 metre taken care of, Gaetan Boucher is exceedingly confident of gold in the 1000 metre, his specialty, and he sees himself on the podium in the 1500 metre.

Gaetan Boucher skates flawlessly and throws up a shower of ice chips as he negotiates the last turn employing a powerful finishing kick to sprint to the finish. His time is 15.80 seconds. He decimates the field by .83 seconds, a huge winning margin for speed skating. He captures gold in the 1000 metre. Gaetan fulfills his dream, Canada fills a void with its first ever gold in speed skating, and its first gold in these games.

Boucher’s playbook is coming together. He has a realistic shot at gold in the 1500 metre but the 1000 metre is definitely his best event.

In the 1500 metre event, Boucher looks tired coming into the last 100 metres. Boucher has said this distance requires guts and indescribable pain to finish. He looks up and sees a time of more than 1:59 and is disappointed. As he completes another cool-down lap he hears people cheering and looks up again to realize he has read the other skater’s time. His time of 1:58:83 gives him another hefty winning margin of .47 for his second gold medal.

Mission accomplished.

Boucher is Canada’s best Adobe PDF Transcript


Highlights

1980
Olympic Games at Lake Placid, silver medal in 1000m
1981
World record in 1000m of 1:13.29
1981
World record in men’s sprint of 148.785 all-around points
1984
Olympics in Sarajevo, bronze medal in 500m, gold medals in 100m and 1500m
1984
First Canadian male to win an individual gold medal at Olympics
1984
World Speed Skating Championships, 1st place
1984
Lou Marsh Memorial Award