Saturday, November 28, 2015

Silken Laumann

Remember her??? I surely do! David Churchill (Spec journalist) published an article with photo in today's issue, May 29,th. It was shortly after capturing the Olympic Bronze Medal...and when she returned locally, offered opportunities to meet with her. At a large invited assembly, she related her feat, performing with sheer determination, to compete in the 1992 Summer Olympics. She was startlingly charming, giving each of us a 12 inch x 6 inch plaque displaying her rowing technique a-seat her “boat”...with outstretched oar blades, each end supporting a Canadian flag. Her silhouette in the rippling dark water with tree-foliage backdrop is most dramatic. For me...a treasure to have!

The lower right corner of the plaque has her name and in italic print:
World & World Cup Champion
and Two Time Olympic Bronze Medalist

The following are excerpts from David's writing:

Silken Laumann inspires fans with her message of hope

More than 20 years after he famous moment on the Olympic stage, she continues to be an inspiration. The former Canadian rowing champion brought her tales of hope and overcoming adversity to the Hamilton area this week as part of a book-signing tour for her new book...Unsinkable.

She stopped at Bryan Prince Bookseller in West Hamilton for a lunchtime book-signing and was headed to Burlington Central Library for another reading Wednesday night. Pictures in her book show the rower in action from her competitive days. The same photo is hanging on the wall of the change room at the Leander Boat Club where the Westdale team trains. With a constant smile, Laumann offered advice to teenage rowers while getting their books signed. 'Have fun and work together,' she tells one rower...and to another, 'You can't control how you do and the final results....but you can control your effort.'

Laumann said the book tour has been a blessing and a challenge as she tells her personal story of a recovery from a brutal accident just 10 weeks before the 1992 Olympics in Germany. Doctors doubted that she would ever row competitively again...but 27 days and 5 operations later, she was back to win a bronze medal. The harder part, she said, was telling her family's story. Laumann, who turns 50 this fall, told of a childhood of terror, self-hatred, self-harm and anorexia. These claims have been disputed by her family members. Laumann said she started and stopped writing the book a number of times in what turned out to be a five-year process.

The three-time-Olympian medalist now lives in Victoria with her partner and four children. Two of her teenage children are competitive rowers. She keeps active, cycling, cross-country skiing & swimming. She is a spokesperson for Good Life Kids and a board member of Right To Play International.
'I miss the rowing career...but I don't miss the pressure.'

Pearls of Wisdom
You may not control all the events that happen to you;
But you can decide not to be be reduced by them.
(Maya Angelou)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written May 29, 2014

As an Addendum to a previous remarkable Canadian Ice Skating champion, about whom I've originally writtten, this news item by Gary Smith of the Hamilton Spectator who has written about theatere and dance for more than 30 years, published the following on November 24 this week:
Told to him by Toller in a 1986 interview...
"Most people who have a preconceived notion of who or what I am
are usually amazed when they meet me. They often say,
'You're not that arrogant, temperamental prick I expected.'
But I never deny that reputation. I never think
one ought to confess or deny anything."
I think I understand something of the creative force that fuelled the man's genius...I also felt a touch of the loneliness and desperation that drove him to distraction. More than anything, he wanted to be loved.
He faced the ugliness of other children who laughed at his whimsy and called him hurtful names.
David Thomlinson (actor) stars in "Toller",
the story of the maverick figure skater and artist...and his powerful choices.

Playwright Sky Gilbert explores with passion and eloquence in his electrifying new drama, "Toller".
Demanding perfection of himself and fearing mediocrity in others, Hamilton-born Cranston (he grew up in Kirkland Lake and Montreal), hid his insecurities under a tough hide of arrogance. Always a little boy battered by schoolmates, Cranston was determined to be better than any of them. Angered, perhaps frightened by criticism, he hated inferiors who knew nothing of his art.
"All art is a journey," Cranston says in Gilbert's drama.
(But the journey here is about a man confronting the truth of his own life
and Gilbert creates that landscape perfectly.)
Cranston further stated, "Of course, there's always the fear of not accomplishing
all you really should. I guess it's really just coming to terms with
life's voyages of self-discovery."
David Thomlinson says, "This is for all little boys everywhere who are different!"
Presentation is given at Hammer Theatre...15 Colbourne Street (Artword Artbar)
on November 26 to 28 @ 8 pm and matinee on Sunday @ 2 pm.

Toller Cranston died of a heart attack at age 65 at his Mexican home, Jan.24.
I think he'd like Gilbert's play.


  1. MEG COMMENTS: "I was so surprised that 20 years have passed
    since I watched Silken at the Olympics.
    Also, as for Toller Cranston, I have also been a fan!
    They are both great! Thanks for this."

  2. You and I, Meg, have both lived a busy life...and when this occurs,
    TIME does fly by quickly. I was so pleased to hear her speak locally a few years ago. A great woman after whom one can pattern a life!