Canada celebrate after Game 6 of the 1972 Summit Series on September 24, 1972 (Getty Images)With the launch of our Memorable Moments campaign highlighting Canada's greatest Olympic accomplishments, and it being Canada Day of course, we've decided to shine a light on the moments that have made Canadian sports truly great. While so many of our notable achievements have come during the Olympics, like the 2010 hockey gold medal, or Donovan Bailey's double-gold performance, many other moments have formed the lore of Canadian sport. This list isn't meant to be comprehensive by any means, but they're the kinds of things people talk about in bars when they talk about Canadian sports, and that's good enough for us.
1972 Canada-Russia series
In retrospect, 1972 holds up more for the stories that emerged than for the actual competition. Canadians became aware of an emerging threat to their global hockey dominance, and Phil Esposito's reputation as a brash talker was cemented. Canadian revisionism has painted a picture of an underdog group of Canucks who fought off the Big Red Machine; in reality, the Canadians were supposed to win by a lot, they won by a little and we've turned it into a lifelong narrative of perseverance and fortitude. Whatever — we won, and we get to celebrate. Forever.
1962 Grey Cup
It says something about our unique Canadianness that five of our Grey Cup games have been nicknamed "The Mud Bowl," "The Fog Bowl," "The Rain Bowl,"
The Wind Bowl" And "The Ice Bowl." While the NFL plays Super Bowls in domed stadiums, Canadians embrace that mother nature should be an active participant in deciding our national champions. The most memorable Grey Cup is probably the Fog Bowl, the 1962 game which would have been notable in its own right as the 50th contest in Grey Cup history. The Fog Bowl took two days to play, after a thick fog descended on Toronto's Exhibition Stadium in the second quarter on December 1. By the fourth quarter, neither fans nor foes could see a 5thing and play was suspended until the following day. Winnipeg defeated Hamilton 28-27 to claim the title.
1992 Toronto Blue Jays
Ed Sprague, left, celebrates with Derek Bell after Sprague's game winning two run homerun. …The Toronto Blue Jays' second World Series title in 1993 may have carried more drama thanks to Joe Carter's walkoff home run in Game 6, but as they say, you never forget your first time. The Jays' 1992 win brought Canada its first World Series championship, and quenched the thirst of Torontonians who had become accustomed to near-misses ever since the team's first division win in 1985. 1992 also featured the infamous "upside-down flag" incident that allowed Canadians from coast to coast to unite in their indignation. The series also featured a somewhat-redeeming home run by Ed Sprague, who earlier that summer had angered pretty much the entire country when his wife was the beneficiary of a scoring error that stole Olympic gold from Sylvie Frechette.
When people complain about the boring, mechanical state of figure skating today, it's because we were spoiled by the likes of Kurt Browning: envelope-pushing entertainers who married showmanship and athletic achievement. Browning always seemed more comfortable in a show, and his gala performances at big events were sure showstoppers. But Browning's biggest achievement revolutionized the sport. At the 1988 World Championships, Browning landed the first quad jump in competition, adding a multiple of difficulty to every competitive performance to follow. The quad became so pervasive throughout the sport, when Evan Lysacek won the 2010 Olympic gold medal without landing a quad, he was heavily criticized.
Check out the video from Browning's first quad. Bonus footage: Scott Hamilton shrieking like he's calling the Ali-Frazier fright.
James Naismith's wanton destruction of Springfield's peach baskets
Our national basketball team may be in tatters now, but we'll always have the universal refrain: "we invented the game!" Ironically, the game was invented as a way to avoid the injuries common in sports Canadians were actually good at: lacrosse, hockey, football and rugby. Naismith brought basketball to the Springfield MA YMCA, where it was used to distract students during New England's cold winter months. His marching orders: come up with a game that doesn't involve physical play, defence, of risk of injuries. In that respect, we should be proud that we're not very good at it.
2006 World Lacrosse Championships
When Canada won the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship, it was both a stunning upset and a coronation. The US hadn't lost a game since 1978, and had won six championships in a row. In four of those finals, the Americans beat Canada. Yet from the final of the 1998 tournament, often called the greatest game ever played, it was apparent that the Canadians were on the upswing. Despite losing that final in overtime, it seemed the Canadians were on a path to a title. When the 2006 games were awarded to London, Ont., the commitment to gold intensified, with Canada's best players abandoning summer team duties and professional commitments to focus on winning gold. A 15-10 win in the final over the US gave the Canucks a championship in our national summer sport for the first time in 28 years.
On a sad note, both goalies from that 2006 team were stricken with cancer. Backup keeper Kyle Miller actually came back from a battle with cancer to make the national team, a story we've chronicled in Eh Game before. Kyle Miller (left) and Chris Sanderson dance after winning the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship.
Miller has since been hit again, this time with lung cancer, and is in the midst of chemotherapy treatments. Canada's starter, Chris Sanderson, was stricken with brain cancer in 2008, and after an epic fight that spanned almost four years, he passed away Thursday morning at the age of 38. From everyone at Yahoo! Canada Sports, our thoughts go out to the Miller and Sanderson families.
-Steve Bauer's Tour De France challenge in 1988
-1989 Grey Cup
-Mike Weir's win at the 2003 Masters
-Jacques Villeneuve's 1997 F1 championship
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