Celebrating Women’s History Month in Sports at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
by Breanna Suk- Collections and Exhibit Coordinator
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is home to more than 1600 Honoured Members comprised of athletes, builders, teams, media personnel and more. Each of these individuals has accomplished incredible feats and contributed significantly to sports development in the province. Each year we induct an average of 10 new members into the Hall of Fame to be honoured and remembered by future generations.
This year we decided to make the focus of our Hall of Fame Gallery a tribute to some of our pioneering women in sport. It was a very difficult decision who to feature in the six display cases as there are so many amazing women in sport in Alberta, many of whom have been inducted into our Hall of Fame. These six have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their respective sports and deserve to have their stories told. This exhibit features artifacts from Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Honoured Members Mary Currie, Annabelle McLean, Sharon Wood, Doreen Ryan, Thelma Crowe, and Elsie Barlow.
Over a 32-year-long career, High River’s Mary Currie represented Calgary and Western Canada 24 times in five-pin bowling. She was Western Canada Ladies Champion four times during her career and the National Champion in 1954.
From Calgary, Annabelle McLean represented Canada on the international, national, and provincial track and field scenes. Her accomplishments include a bronze medal in the 1954 British Empire Games relay event, national broad jump titles in 1955 and 1956, and Provincial Aggregate titles from 1951 through 1955.
Sharon Wood, originally from British Columbia, now a long time resident of Canmore, was the first North American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, a feat she accomplished on May 20, 1986, at 9:00 p.m. A mountain climbing and helicopter ski guide, she would go on to climb Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada, and numerous summits exceeding 20,000 feet.
Edmonton’s Doreen Ryan won the Canadian Senior Championships nine times between 1951 – 1963, a North American Championship in 1952, and a silver at the same meet a decade later. She was a member of the Canadian Olympic Speed Skating Team in 1960 and 1964.
Also, from Canmore, Thelma Crowe’s competitive years spanned from 1937 to 1942, where she won a total of 14 medals and 35 certificates. She was also the Alberta Amateur Outdoor Speed Skating Champion from 1936 to 1942.
An Edmonton fastball dynamo since the age of 14, Elsie Barlow would go on to a storied career as both a player, coach, statistician, and organizer. Her teams captured multiple city, provincial and Western Canadian championships. During the winter months, Elsie participated in speed skating as an executive and official.
To learn more about these and many other amazing women in sport, be sure to check out the Honoured Members section of our website, www.albertasportshall.ca or stop by to learn more in person.
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