Born: May 10, 1958 - Charlesbourg, Quebec (CAN)
Gaétan Boucher, from Charlesbourg, Quebec, is the most successfull Canadian speed skater. He was among the best sprinters in the world from 1976 to 1988. In Sarajevo 1984 he became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in a speed skating event, by winning both the 1000 m and 1500 m. He also won a 1000 m silver medal in 1980 and a 500 m bronze in 1984. Winning the Olympic titles in 1984 was an even greater achievement, considering the fact that he suffered from an ankle injury in 1983, only 10 months before the Olympic Games. He trained for the Olympic Games on his home ground, Calgary 1988, but his ankle injury still plagued him by recurring for the next four years. He did not win any medals in Calgary, but he still placed 5th on 1000 m and 6th on 500 m.
He won the World Sprint Title 1984, after placing 2nd 3 times; 1979, 1980 and 1982. The following year he placed 2nd for the 4th time. He participated 7 times in the World Allround Championships and he had 2 distance wins and a total of 5 distance podium positons. But he only qualified for the 10000 m once, placing 9th in the overall classification 1982.
In January 1981 he set two World Records in Davos, becoming the first to get samalog points below 150.000 points in the sprint combination.
Boucher was also a world class short track speed skater; winning the World Short Track Championships 1977 and 1980, and placing 2nd in 1976, 1981 and 1982. He was also a member of the Candadian team which won the relay title 1979 and 1980. He held the short track 500 m World Record for a period of one year; 1982-1983.
He was awarded the Oscar Mathisen Trophy in 1984. His is an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the co-founders of the Peace Park in Sarajevo, and a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
Bjarte Hetland, December 7, 2013