Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Bobbie Rosenfeld
2015 marks the Year of Sport and the 60th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of these important milestones, OLM will be featuring Honoured Members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in a weekly Profile piece.
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of its Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.
Bobbie Rosenfeld: Athlete, Track Events
Recognized as Canada’s Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900-1950), there wasn’t any sport Bobbie Rosenfeld couldn’t conquer. She ran fast, jumped high, hit baseballs, shot basketballs, threw javelins and passed pucks, at a time when sports were deemed “unladylike.” Her victories and sportsmanship helped prove the abilities of girl competitors and paved the way for future female athletes.
Fanny Rosenfeld, or better known by her nickname “Bobbie” for her “bobbed” haircut, was born in Russia in 1903. She immigrated to Canada as an infant and was raised in Barrie, Ontario. Her family moved to Toronto in 1923 where Rosenfeld worked at a chocolate factory and excelled in local sporting teams during her spare time.
She entered international athletics in 1928 at the Amsterdam Olympics, when women were first allowed to compete in the games. Rosenfeld was part of the small Canadian women’s track team which won a Gold medal for the 400-metre relay, Silver for the 100-metre and came in fifth place in the 800-metre. She scored more points for her country than any other male or female athlete at the games.
Rosenfeld’s flourishing career came to a sudden halt in 1933. Struck with severe arthritis, she was bedridden for months and afterwards had to rely on crutches. Although physically she was unable to participate in athletics, her strong spirit could not keep her out of the game entirely. She coached the Canadian women’s track and field team at the British Commonwealth Games in London, England in 1934 and became a sports writer for Toronto’s Globe and Mail in 1937. Her column was called Feminine Sports Reel which covered women’s sports for 18 years.
Canada lost one of its most celebrated female athletes on November 13, 1969 when Rosenfeld died in Toronto at age 64.
To learn more about Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, visit sportshall.ca.