Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott performs at the Vernon Civic Arena in 1949. Scott won Olympic gold in ladies singles at the 1948 Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the first and only Canadian woman to do so. Scott also won two World Championships and four Canadian titles in her illustrious career. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives photo 576)

Vernon History in Pictures

Olympic champions grace Vernon Civic Arena ice in 1940s and 1990s

Vernon’s historic Civic Arena twice played host to figure skating royalty.

In 1949, a capacity crowd was mesmerized by Canada’s sweetheart, Barbara Ann Scott, who won Olympic gold in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1948. She remains the only Canadian figure skater to win gold in Olympic Women’s Singles.

Scott, from the Ottawa area, was a four-time Canadian champion (1944, 1945, 1946, 1948) and a two-time World champion (’47, ’48). She was the first North American to have won three major titles in one year, and the only Canadian to have won the European championship (1947-48).

In the 1990s, the Civic again drew capacity crowds who came to see the greatest pairs skating team in the world at the time, Russia’s Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov.

“G and G,” as they were known, won the 1988 and 1994 Olympic championships, and the pair won four World titles (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990) before Grinkov died of a massive heart attack in 1995 at the age of 28.

Gordeeva returned to Vernon and performed at Kal Tire Place in 2016 with the Holiday on Ice Festival, a fundraiser for North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society.

The main attraction that night was four-time World figure skating men’s champion Kurt Browning of Alberta.

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