Historian Andrew Ross on the Unknown Olympic Flag Bearer

12 02 2010

The Olympic Torch En Route to Vancouver

The Winter Olympics will begin in a few hours in Vancouver. (See here, here, and here). Nowadays, it is considered a great privilege for an athlete to be chosen as the country’s flag bearer during the Olympic opening ceremonies.  A few days ago, the identity of the person who will carry Canada’s flag tonight in Vancouver was a subject of speculation on the internet. The photograph of Clara Hughes, the person chosen, will probably grace the front pages of many newspapers tomorrow.

Clara Hughes

But this was not always the case. For instance, at the time of the 1936 Winter Olympics, nobody thought it worthwhile to record the name of Canada’s flag bearer.

Andrew Ross, Canadian Historian

Dr Andrew Ross, a historian of North American sport and business based at the University of Geulph, has some interesting observations about the identity of Canada’s flag bearer in 1936. Check out his most recent post on his hockey history blog.  Ross reports that historians have tentatively identified the 1936 flag bearer using this grainy photograph.

The Dominion of Canada's Flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1936 Winter Olympics

Historian Andrew Ross on Canada’s National Hockey Team

1 12 2009

Image Source: Library and Archives Canada, via Wikimedia Commons

The image above is of boys playing hockey in Sarnia, 29 December 1908. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Andrew Cohen, Ottawa-based public intellectual

Historica-Dominion Institute, the Canadian history think-tank, recently published the results of a survey on Canadians and hockey. The poll reveals that a third of Canadians believe that the Montreal Canadiens best represent Canada’s sport. Andrew Cohen, the representative of the institute, was interviewed about the results of the study. Interviewed by CBC Montreal, Cohen said he actually thought support for the Habs would be higher. “A third of Canadians — which is still higher than any other team — is still a substantial number of Canadians,” he said. “It may be because the Canadians haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1993, and when you’re not winning, as it were, you’re not top of consciousness.” In an interview with Montreal’s La Presse, Cohen attributed the popularity of the Canadiens to “le populaire livre pour enfants «Le chandail de hockey» de Roch Carrier”.

Andrew Ross, Canadian Historian

Andrew Ross of the Department of History, University of Guelph has some thoughts about this poll on his blog. Dr Ross has written about the history of the NHL and is probably the leading academic historian of professional hockey in Canada. Ross is also an economic and business historian and is currently working on a business history of the NHL. His other publications include  “Arenas of Debate: The Continuance of Commercial Hockey in the Second World War,” in John Wong, ed., Coast to Coast: Hockey in Canada (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming);  “The Paradox of Conn Smythe: Hockey, Memory, and the Second World War,” Sport History Review 37 (May 2006), 19–35; “‘All this Fuss and Feathers’: Plutocrats, Politicians and Changing Canadian Attitudes to Titular Honours,” in Colin M. Coates, ed., Majesty in Canada (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2006), 119–141; and “Hockey Capital: Approaches to the Study of Sports Industry,Business and Economic History On-Line 3.