Winners: Betty Taylor, Athletics

‹ Back to Winners

Photograph of Betty Taylor

Betty Taylor wearing her competition uniform.
Date: 1936
Collection: Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

1936 - Feature Story

Betty Taylor went to the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as one of the favourites to win the Gold medal in the women’s 80m hurdles. She already had Olympic experience, having competed for Canada at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where, as a 16 year old, she finished fourth in her heat and did not advance. She arrived at the 1936 Games as a four-time Canadian champion and national record holder, Silver medalist from the 1934 British Empire Games in London and Canadian Olympic team captain. The Hamilton hurdler breezed through her first heat and equaled the Olympic record in finishing second in her semi-final race. News reports would then document she lost Olympic Gold by an “eyelash,” finishing in a virtual dead-heat with three other rivals, despite being jostled by Italy’s Trebisonda Valla’s elbow at the final hurdle. Officials took some 30 minutes to pour over photographs of the finish, finally proclaiming Valla as the winner and Taylor third.  

Career Highlights

  • 1936 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award (Canada’s female athlete of the year)
  • 1936 Bronze medal in the 80m hurdles event at the Olympic Games in Berlin
  • 1936 Set Canadian record of 11.7 seconds at the Olympic Games in Berlin
  • 1934 Silver medal in the 80m hurdles event at the British Empire Games in London
  • 1934 Silver medallist at the Women’s World Track and Field Games in London

‹ Back to Winners