OTD: Canadian women’s track team wins gold at Amsterdam Olympics

On today’s date in 1928, Canadian athletes Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld, Ethel Smith, Myrtle Cook and Jane Bell won the gold medal in 4×100-metre relay at that year’s Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.

Born in Russia and raised in Barrie, Ont., Rosenfeld excelled in track and field as well as hockey, softball, basketball and tennis.

In the span of one afternoon at the 1925 Ontario Ladies’ Track and Field Championship, she placed first in five events and second in two events.

A well-known track-and-field competitor when the International Amateur Athletic Federation began allowing women to compete in five events at the 1928 Olympics, she set Canadian records in the running broad jump, standing broad jump and discus during the trials to select the women’s team. She also ran the 100-metre dash just four-fifths of a second slower than the world record at that time.

Known as “The Matchless Six” by the Canadian Press, the women of the Canadian Olympic team would become national heroes after their performance that year.

Rosenfeld was chosen to compete in both the 100-yard dash and discus events, but after both were scheduled for the same day, she was only entered in the 100-yard dash. She eventually earned gold for her country while the U.S. took home the silver medal and Germany the bronze.

She died in Toronto on Nov. 13, 1969.

Rosenfeld (second from left) and Ethel Smith (left) are shown at what’s believed to be the semi-final of the women’s 100-metre dash at the 1924 Summer Olympics. (Photo by Collections Canada)


In 1996, to commemorate the 100th Olympic Games, Canada Post issued a five-stamp set featuring some of the country’s greatest gold medalists.

Rosenfeld was commemorated on a 45-cent stamp (Scott #1610) as part of the issue. Printed by Ashton-Potter, the stamp features a design by Mark Koudis based on a photograph from Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The image shows Rosenfeld in a starting position and ready to begin a race.

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