• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
  • Sapporo, Japan, Feb 3-13, 1972

    Women Men
    Shirley Firth Malcom Hunter
    Sharon Firth Fred Kelly
    Roseann Allen Roger Allen
    Helen Sander Jarl Omholt-Jensen

    The Mackenzie Delta town of Inuvik, Northwest Territories sent a record six of eight cross country skiers to Sapporo, led by 18 year old twins Shirley and Sharon Firth, part of the youngest team ever assembled. It also marked the debut of Canadian and American women in the Olympic cross country arena.

    Sharon’s 5 km 26th finish set the event’s Canadian standard yet to be broken while her 24th 10 km result was to endure until 1984. Shirley ran 35th in her 5 km debut while Inuvik’s Roseann Allen finished 40th and Helen Sander of Dunrobin, Ontario posted 40th in the 10 km and 41st in the 5 km. Still a 3 x 5 km relay event, the Firths and anchor Allen ran 10th, a dramatic 8/10th of a second ahead of the U.S. and less than five minutes behind the winning Soviets. Martha Rockwell of Vermont failed to upset the Canadians as U.S. anchor but scored North America’s best women’s results with 16th in the 10 km and 18th in the 5 km.

    With 43rd and 45th placing respectively, Malcolm Hunter of Ottawa (present Executive Director of Cross Country Canada) was top Canuck in the 30 km and 15 km won by Soviety Viacheslav Vedenin and Sweden’s Sven-Ake Lundbaeck respectively. Norway’s Pal Tyldum won the 50 km while no Canadians entered. Hunter teamed with Inuvik’s Fred Kelly, Roger Allen and Jarl Omholt-Jensen for 13th spot in the relay won by the Soviets in a sprint to the finish over Norway.