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Emile St. Godard (August 15, 1905 - March 26, 1948)

Athlete/Dog Sledding
Inducted 2007

Emile St. Godard was born in Winnipeg, Man. on Aug. 15, 1905. His family moved from Fisher Branch to The Pas in 1916. Emile's younger brother Leo started training a dog team, but the family felt he was too young to race. Emile took over the team and in 1924 won his first race of 12 miles around the streets of The Pas. The following winter, he won his first major race, The Pas Dog Derby, a 200-mile event. He won The Pas race the next four years and finished second in 1930 and 1931. During the 1920s and early 1930s, dog sled racing was a very popular sport and St. Godard became its greatest champion.

In Canada, he took first prize in the Quebec Winter Carnival dog race in 1927 and won four more races between 1928 and 1933. New England had embraced dog sled racing so St. Godard raced there many times with great success. He and his team won more than 20 races between 1927 and 1934 including five Eastern International Dog Sled Derby Club and 11 New England Sled-Dog Club races. St. Godard's most prestigious victory came at the 1932 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY, where sled dog racing was a demonstration sport along with curling and speed skating. The musher from The Pas won both 50-mile races and became the first individual from Manitoba to win an Olympic event.

Throughout his career, St. Godard considered the welfare of his dog team "family" to be more important than victory and received a citation from the Canadian Humane Society for kindness and concern for his dogs. Almost as famous as St. Godard during this period was his lead dog Toby, who was half-husky, half-greyhound. When Toby passed away in New Hampshire, his death was recorded in the Boston newspapers. St. Godard died in The Pas in 1948 at age 42. He had continued to be such a well-respected figure that the New York Times published a lengthy obituary and Time magazine called him the "onetime king of dog-team racers" in its Milestones column.

In 1956, Emile St. Godard was inducted posthumously into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. With his induction into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, he became the only dog sled racer to be recognized by either the national or provincial shrine.

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Emile St. Godard Acceptance Speech