A symbol of excellence, resiliency and national pride.


Born in Winnipeg in 1915, John Loaring moved to Windsor, ON with his family when he was 11 years old. Just before starting high school, he contracted rheumatic fever – an inflammatory disease that affects the heart, joints, brain and skin. Doctors told his parents his ‘running days were over’. John hoped to prove them otherwise.

By the time he was 19 years old, Loaring was dominating the provincial and national high school track scene. In the summer of 1936, he became the Ontario 440yd hurdles champion. His time set a new Ontario Record that stood for 27 years.

His next competition was the 1936 Olympic Trials in Montreal. He won the 400m hurdles and 400m run – both in Canadian Record time. These wins meant his dream was now a reality – he’d earned his place on the Canadian Olympic Team and would be representing Canada at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.

The 1936 Olympic Games were the first Olympic Games to be televised, and the first to have a torch run. Loaring warmed-up alongside famous US athlete Jesse Owens, and competed under Adolph Hitler’s watch. It was here, at these Games, that he made Canadian history.

His first Olympic event was the 400m hurdles. Loaring can be seen in the photo above clearing the hurdle with arms outstretched. It was his 21st birthday. He was the youngest finalist, and least experienced athlete in the field. Despite these obstacles, Loaring hurdled his way to an Olympic silver medal in that 400m hurdles event, finishing 3/10ths of a second behind the World Record Holder and 1932 Olympic Gold Medallist, Glenn Hardin of USA.

While standing on the podium to receive his Olympic medal, Loaring recalled,

A few days later, Loaring toed the line for the 400m run. He ran first round, second round, semi-final, and final races, eventually placing sixth in the Olympic 400m run. The following day, he anchored the 4x400m Canadian relay team to a 4th place finish.

Later he remarked,

“The inspiration of taking part in the greatest of all competitions, made it possible to excel beyond all hope, and to reach physical and mental peaks of stamina and determination”.

The German newspapers tagged John Loaring “the toughest competitor of 1936” for running a total of nine races (including qualifying rounds) in such a short time-span. Writers of the “Guinness Book of World Records”, said: “Loaring’s competitive record at the 1936 Olympics must just about represent the most severe test to which any Olympic athlete has ever been subjected.”

To this day, John Loaring is the only male athlete in history to final in all three 400m distance events (hurdles, flats, and relay) in any Olympic Games.

Days after his Olympic races, Loaring entered a steeplechase event while still in Europe. He ran the anchor leg of a relay, clinching gold, with a split that was best in the world that year. It was his one and only steeplechase experience.

In 1937, he unofficially broke the World Record for the 600 yd run – in practice.

In 1938, he joined the Canadian Team on a 6-week sea voyage to Sydney, Australia for the British Empire (now Commonwealth) Games.

“It was my 21st birthday, and it was impossible to describe the intense feeling of overwhelming happiness, humility, awe, and pride I experienced standing by Hardin and in the presence of 120,000 people”.

Steve Jobs



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A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia.