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Betty (Mitchell) Olson (September 19, 1928 - )

Athlete/Speed Skating
Inducted 1989

Betty (Mitchell) Olson may not have been the first to make Manitoba's mark in Speed Skating, but it's fair to say her competitive career which began in 1939 and spanned the '40's, ensured this province's name was one to be reckoned with at any level of racing.

She flashed onto the international scene in 1942, winning the Juvenile Girls outdoor and indoor North American Championships. In 1943 and 1944, she was Junior Girls Champion at the 10,000 Lakes meet held in Winnipeg and Minneapolis.

The war brought a hiatus to speed skating but, when the sport resumed, she was back in form immediately - in 1947 winning the Senior Women's midwest title, the North American Championships in Detroit and the Minnesota Senior Title.

Her reign continued through 1948 with victories in four Senior Women's competitions: The Westerns in Chicago, The Detroit Free Press Open, the North Americans in Detroit, and the Minnesota Championship in Minneapolis.

As Canada's only representative to the Olympic Style Championships in Norway, in 1949, she finished among the top 15 in all four categories entered, including a 9th place in the 500 metres.

Olson capped her career by winning the North American Senior Women's Championship in 1950 - for a third time. At the National level, she was Canadian Intermediate Girls champ in 1946 and took the Senior title in 1947. Her provincial titles included Junior Girls in 1943 and 1944 and Senior Women's Champion from 1944 through 1948 (closed) and open title in 1947.

Olson retired from competition in 1950, ending an illustrious career, and was elected to the Canadian Amateur Speed Skating Hall of Fame in 1965.

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