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Fanny ("Bobbie") Rosenfeld (December 28, 1904 — November 14, 1969) was a Canadian athlete, who earned a gold medal for the 400 metre relay and a silver medal for the 100 metre at the1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. She was called the "best Canadian female athlete of the half-century" and a star at basketball, hockey, softball, and tennis. She was named Canada's Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900–1950). She also was called Bobbie for her "bobbed" haircut. The Bobbie Rosenfeld Award is named in her honour.

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 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Rosenfeld, who was Jewish,[1] was born in DnipropetrovskRussia (now Ukraine). In 1904, Rosenfeld immigrated to Canada with her parents and older brother when she was still an infant; they settled in Barrie, Ontario. Her father Max Rosenfeld operated a junk business and her mother Sarah, who gave birth to three more girls, ran the home. Fanny attended Central School and Barrie Collegiate Institute, where she excelled in sports. In 1922, the Rosenfeld family moved to Toronto. For leisure, she joined the Y.W.H.A. and was a center for their basketball team. That year, they won both the Toronto and Ontario championships. Her legend would grow in 1923 at a picnic in Beaverton. She entered a 100-yard (91 m) dash and defeated the Canadian champion, Rosa Grosse. Later that year, she competed in a track meet at the Canadian National Exhibition.[2]

Athletic career[edit]Edit

At the 1925 Ontario Ladies Track and Field championships, in a single day performance, Rosenfeld placed first in discus, shot put, 220-yard (200 m) dash, low hurdles, and long jump, and placed second in the javelin and 100-yard (91 m) dash. In the mid-1920s, she held national records in the 440-yard (400 m) open relay with a CNE relay team, as well as in the standing broad jump, discus, javelin, and shot put.[3]

In addition to track and field, Rosenfeld played basketball on Toronto’s Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YWHA) team that twice went to the finals of the national championship. She played on city championship teams in ice hockey, fastball, and softball. In 1924, having only just taken up the sport, Rosenfeld claimed the title of the Toronto Ladies Grass Court Tennis championship. She also competed in lacrosse, golf, and speed skating.

In the spring of 1939, Rosenfeld was the manager of Langley’s Lakesides softball team. The team played an exhibition game in front of 14,000 fans at Madison Square Garden.[4]

Hockey[edit]Edit

Rosenfeld was a hockey player in the 1920s and was dubbed superwoman of ladies' hockey. During the 1920s and 30’s, she was one of Canada’s most famous female hockey players. Rosenfeld was a centre on the 1927 and '29 Ontario champion Toronto Patterson Pats. The Pats were part of the North Toronto Ladies' City League. Rosenfeld helped form the Ladies Ontario Hockey Association in 1924.[5] Rosenfeld was president of the LOHA from 1934 to 1939.[6] By late 1936, Rosenfeld was not only the LOHA president, but served as the secretary and the treasurer.[7] She was considered the most outstanding women’s hockey player in all of Ontario during 1931–32.

Olympics[edit]Edit

During the Olympic trials for the 1928 Games, Rosenfeld set numerous Canadian track and field records. These records included the running broad jump, standing broad jump and the discus. Her time in the 100 metres was four-fifths of a second slower than the world record at that time.[8] She would go on to compete in the 1928 Summer Olympics and claim a gold medal in the 4x100 relay. In the 100-yard (91 m) dash, Rosenfeld earned a silver medal.

Retirement[edit]Edit

Rosenfeld developed arthritis, and the condition forced her to stop competing in 1933. A year later she was coach of the Canadian women’s track and field team at the British Commonwealth Games in London, England. During the 1930s, she was an administrator and official in women’s softball and ice hockey in Ontario. In 1936, Rosenfeld would turn her attention to journalism. She began to work in the sports department of the Globe and Mail newspaper. In 1937, she introduced a column called Feminine Sports Reel and was a staunch advocate of women’s sport. For 18 years, Rosenfeld covered women's sports.[9] In 1955, she was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.[10] Her last column appeared on December 3, 1958 but she continued to work for the newspaper until 1966.

Fanny Bobbie Rosenfeld died on November 13, 1969 in Toronto and is buried at Lambton Mills Cemetery.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]Edit

  • 1924 – Toronto grass-courts tennis championship title
  • Five 1st place and two 2nd place titles at Ontario Ladies’ Track and Field Championships
  • World record (since broken), 100 yd (91 m). dash (11.0 seconds)
  • 1931 – Leading home run hitter in softball league
  • 1931–32 – Most outstanding woman hockey player in Ontario
  • Canada's Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900–1950)
  • Bobbie Rosenfeld Park – a City of Toronto park and open space located between Rogers Centre and CN Tower
    • City of Toronto plaque honouring the athlete in a planter at the foot of the CN Tower.[12]
  • Government of Canada plaque at Allandale Recreation Centre in Barrie, Ontario in honour of the athlete who settled and grew up in the city.[13]
  • The official website of the 2012 Summer Olympics states her as the first Ukraine-born gold medal winner.[14]
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