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a photo from the 1988 winter olympics in calgary with a dense crowd filling an arena and several balloons floating in the air

From Flames to Fame: Meet Canada’s Remarkable Athletes From the 1988 Winter Olympics

The 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary were a defining moment for Canadian sports

From Flames to Fame: Meet the Unforgettable Athletes of the 1988 Winter Games

In 1988, Calgary became the center stage for the world’s most elite winter athletes.

Against a breathtaking backdrop of our beautiful Rockies, the Olympic Winter Games unfolded, leaving an unforgettable mark on sporting history.

The 1988 Winter Games were a defining moment for Canadian sports and showcased the talents of some exceptional athletes. Let’s take a look at three of these remarkable athletes and their achievements during the 1988 Winter Games.

Karen Percy

a photo of karen percy during an interview where she is wearing a blue top
Karen Percy during an interview discussing her role at North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper | Swim Drink Fish

An Alberta-born alpine skier, Karen Percy made an impressive Olympic debut at the 1988 Winter Games.

Despite the pressure of being a hometown favourite and recovering from thumb surgery, the Banff-born Percy won two medals, becoming Canada’s first double medalist in skiing since 1968.

Percy competed in all alpine disciplines throughout her career, earning 45 World Cup starts with five podium finishes.

After retiring, Percy married Kevin Lowe, a former Edmonton Oilers NHL player. Percy and Lowe went on to have three daughters and one son.

Percy has received several prestigious honours, including being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1995.  She now dedicates her time to charity work and is the president of North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, a waterbody preservation group. 

Robert McCall

a photo of rob mccall with his skating partner tracy wilson
Robert “Rob” McCall (left) pictured next to his skate partner Tracy Wilson | Skate Canada

Robert McCall, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was a gifted ice dancer. His career on ice led him to Toronto, where he would eventually team up with Tracy Wilson. Together, the duo achieved incredible feats at the 1988 Winter Games.

McCall and Wilson captured the audience’s hearts with their elegant and captivating performances, earning them a well-deserved bronze medal in the ice dancing event.

Tragically, McCall passed away in 1991 at 33 due to complications from AIDS. McCall kept the nature of his illness a secret with the hopes of continuing to skate in the United States, which then had restrictive immigration and customs laws that barred persons with AIDS.

McCall’s legacy lives on as an inspiration to future ice dancers, and his contributions to the sport continue to be cherished.

Brian Orser

brian orser pictured happily smiling with his student yuzuru hanyu
Brian Orser (left) pictured with his student, Yuzuru Hanyu (right) | Globetrotting

Brian Orser, an Ontario-born figure skater, became a Canadian icon and a symbol of resilience at the 1988 Winter Games.

Orser is known for being the first man to land a triple Axel at the Olympics during his free skate at the 1984 Winter Olympics. 

Throughout his intense competition with American skater Brian Boitano in Calgary, Orser delivered flawless performances, earning him a silver medal in men’s singles.

Orser has since transitioned into coaching, mentoring aspiring skaters worldwide. He has trained and guided several successful skaters, including Yuzuru Hanyu, who won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2014 and 2018.

Currently, Orser is the head instructor at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, along with Tracy Wilson, Robert McCall’s Olympic partner. One of Orser’s current students includes fellow Canadian Corey Circelli, the 2020 Canadian national junior champion.

Rob McCall, Karen Percy, and Brian Orser exemplified the spirit of Canadian athleticism, dedication, and perseverance. Their legacies continue to inspire future generations. These athletes have made significant contributions to their respective fields, leaving a lasting impact on the sporting community. Alberta proudly celebrates the achievements of these remarkable athletes and their enduring spirit.

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