Olympians

Vic Emery

From: Montreal, Quebec

Graduation Year:

  • 1955 BA (Business Administration)

Stats (results)

  • 1964 - Gold - Innsbruck

Awards/Honours:

Vic Emery was an avid athlete growing up and during his time at The University of Western Ontario. He enjoyed swimming, canoeing and sailing in his spare time and was a member of the university's first varsity ski team. However, Emery accomplished his greatest athletic success after his time at Western and in a sport in which he had no previous experience.

Emery graduated from Western in 1955, with an honours degree in Business Administration. The following year, Emery was traveling in Europe when he spontaneously went to see the 1956 Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Emery was taken by the bobsleigh event and determined to compete in the event himself. He was not at all discouraged by the fact that Canada had no bobsleigh team, track, coach, association or funding.

Vic Emery's Mother

Mrs. Emery shows off pictures of her sons prior to the 1964 Olympics.  Both Vic (left) and John (middle) were on the bobsleigh team that won the gold medal.

 

 Back in Canada, Emery recruited two of his friends, Lamont Gordon and Charles Rathgeb Jr, and his brother, John Emery, and the four became Canada's first bobsleigh team. They practiced mostly in Europe and entered the 1959 World Championships in St. Moritz, only to place near the end. The team forged ahead and continued to compete in world championships, despite a frightful run during the 1961 competition in which the team’s sled was thrown into the air, badly hurting the Canadian competitors.

A year later, the team won a gold medal at the 1962 Commonwealth games, qualifying them for the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck. The Canadians ended their first day, and two of the four runs, in first place. They kept up their performance the next day and placed first overall, winning Canada's first gold medal in Olympic bobsleigh.

The team continued to compete internationally and proved their athleticism by taking home the gold medal the following year at the 1965 World Championships. Shortly after, the team broke up to pursue personal goals. Emery moved to the UK, where he became a successful business man and raised a family.

Vic Emery and the 1954-55 Varsity Ski Team

Vic Emery (left) and the 1954-55 Varsity Ski team. This was the first time the university entered a ski team in an intercollegiate championship. The team did quite well and placed 5th overall. Courtesy of UWO Student Council.