In less time than it takes to lace a pair of track shoes, his life changed forever. In 9.83 seconds, on the afternoon of Aug. 30, 1987, Benjamin Sinclair Johnson Jr., 26, ceased to be, in his own description, “just Ben.” From the moment that the Canadian broke the tape at the World Track and Field Championships in Rome—completing the 100m dash one-tenth of a second faster than any man had run the distance before—Ben Johnson was no longer just another athlete.By TANYA CHRISTIE10 min
It will not be 1984-II. Four years ago, at the sun-drenched and quintessentially American Olympics in Los Angeles, Canadian athletes collected a record of 44 gold, silver and bronze medals. But that was against a depleted field boycotted by 15 Communist countries, including two of the world’s reigning sports superpowers—the Soviet Union and East Germany.
It was a hot Montreal day, one of many during the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. The men’s 100-m final was about to begin, and, in a dressing room below the Olympic Stadium, the world’s best sprinters waited to be summoned to the track. In the room were two Americans, a Jamaican, a Panamanian, a Bulgarian and an East German.By NEIL WILSON8 min
Senator Leo Kolber was enraged. As chief fund raiser for the federal Liberal party in 1986, Kolber had embarked on a frustrating—and ultimately unsuccessful—mission to erase the party’s crushing debt, which then exceeded $4 million.By ROSS LAVER, BRUCE WALLACE7 min
He began his journalism career as a teenage rural correspondent for Ontario’s Kitchener Waterloo Record, earning 10 cents for each column-inch of his work that the paper published. Last week, more than 50 years later, Beland H. Honderich announced his retirement as publisher of Canada’s largest-circulation daily newspaper, The Toronto Star, and as chief executive officer of the paper’s parent company, Torstar Corp.By PEETER KOPVILLEM7 min
Over his long and enormously prolific career as a humorist, novelist, playwright and scold, Robertson Davies has been accused of many literary sins. Critics have labelled him an anachronism, an old-fashioned moralist and romantic who wandered into Canada from the early 19th century and despised what he saw. Davies’s sartorial splendor—the silk cravats and Edwardian jackets, the walking sticks and large antique ring—sometimes seems calculated to confirm his detractors’ accusations.
During the 1950s, two Toronto millionaires embarked on separate journeys to become sports tycoons. Jack Kent Cooke, a charming high-school dropout, owned a string of Canadian radio stations and magazines, as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team of the old International League. Harold E. Ballard, an overbearing private-school dropout, inherited his father’s sewing machine manufacturing business and was the president of the Ontario Hockey League Junior A Toronto Marlboros.
Hitler draped the Olympics in swastikas. Black September added the balaclava and automatic weapon, Washington and Moscow, the full-scale boycott. But the organizers of the Seoul Olympics are more ambitious and certainly more well-meaning.By James Lawton6 min
The last time the two men met was on Nov. 9, 1982, in the southeastern Polish town of Arlamowo. Lech Walesa, the shipyard electrician from Gdansk who founded the Solidarity trade union movement, was then a political prisoner. And Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak—the interior minister who had interned Walesa for 11 months under martial law—visited Poland’s most famous detainee.
The vote was a tumultuous taste of the clamor ahead. As the members rose one by one last week to cast their vote on the controversial free trade bill, the House of Commons erupted. Opposition Liberals unfurled a giant Canadian flag and bellowed the patriotic lines of the national anthem.
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