Mary Rose Thacker, Figure Skating

Winnipeg’s Mary Rose Thacker was a promising young skater when she arrived at the 1939 National championships for her first foray in the senior ranks. No one expected the 16-year-old to come away with a win. She had won the Canadian Junior Figure Skating Championships in Montreal two years earlier, but that victory had also been regarded as an upset and she lost the 1938 competition season due to injury. But in February, she demonstrated her prowess in school figures, securing the 1939 Canadian Amateur Figure Skating Championship in Ottawa with a skating program that may have been shaky in jumps, but rich in performance. Later that year Thacker, the second youngest athlete in the competition, again led after school figures at the 1939 North American Figure Skating Championships in Toronto and went on to win the women’s title. Thacker then travelled to England to prepare for the 1940 Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, but returned home when the Games were cancelled due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Two years after scoring an impressive figure skating double by winning the Canadian and North American championships, Mary Rose Thacker repeated the feat. Ballet studies had improved her free skating program and the popular Winnipeg teen again secured the women’s titles at the 1939 Canadian Amateur Figure Skating Championship in Montreal and at the 1939 North American Figure Skating Championship in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to earn Canadian female athlete honours.

Wendy Long

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