Nancy Greene (centre) won gold and silver medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics

B.C.’s rich sports history saluted

Members of the public will be able to vote on the top sporting moments and figures in the province's history.

British Columbia has provided dozens of great sporting moments over the decades; and armchair athletes can now have a say in determining the best of the best, in a project launched by the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

The “Golden Moments in B.C. Sports History” campaign was launched on April 18. Members of the public nominated 211 different memorable moments from the province’s sporting past, which were narrowed down to 50 by BC Sports Hall of Fame directors, historians, and media inductees.

Media Relations spokesperson Eddie Tabakman says that they tried to get regional representation to show British Columbians the scope of the organization. “They’re all such great moments, and we want to engage people who care about history. It’s community building—people remember where they were at a certain moment, so it’s a celebration.”

The top 14 seeds—which include such moments as the 1954 “miracle mile” at the Commonwealth Games, Sidney Crosby’s “golden goal” at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Nancy Greene’s giant slalom gold medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics, and Steve Nash’s back-to-back NBA MVP awards in 2004–05 and 2005–06—will go through unchallenged to the second round. “It helps us make sure the best moments carry forward,” says Tabakman. “But after that it’s up to the public.”

He says that determining the top 14 seeds was difficult. “We had to recognize that we’re a multi-sport organization. We wanted to make sure there was a diverse look to the seeds; we didn’t want to be too hockey-heavy, for example. And there were five moments alone from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics that could have been there.”

Voting is now open for round one, which sees 18 match-ups between the 36 unseeded entries. One match pits Victoria’s Robert Powell—the first Canadian tennis player to advance to the Wimbledon semi-finals, in 1908—against the 1964 BC Lions team, which won the Leos their first Grey Cup. The winner of that pairing will go up against skiing great Nancy Greene in round two voting.

“There’s no perfect way to do this,” admits Tabakman. He also notes that it was a challenge to figure out how to involve Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope and Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion tour—both of which made the top 14 seeds—in the process. “These were obviously not about winning a competition, but both men were inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as people who have had a significant impact on sports in B.C. And both names kept coming up over and over.”

Voting for round one continues until May 5, with round two starting on May 9. The “Final Four” will be celebrated at the Banquet of Champions on June 9, which marks the BC Sports Hall of Fame’s 50th year. “We cannot wait to see British Columbians vote on the moments and engage in a fascinating debate over the next 50 days,” says Allison Mailer, Executive Director of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. “We encourage everyone to visit our website at www.bcsportshalloffame.com and cast their vote!”

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