2010 Hall of Fame Inductee: Susan Auch

Throughout the 1980s, the 1990s and into last decade, Susan Auch carved a memorable speed skating career. For five straight Olympic Winter Games, Auch was much more than a recognizable figure on the Canadian Olympic Team.

At the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games, the Winnipeg native burst onto the scene first in short track speed skating – then a demonstration sport. Though it does not technically add to her medal tally, Auch nevertheless won bronze in the women’s 3,000-metre relay. Not long after, she switched to the long track and competed in the next four Games.

The 500-metre event was her signature and in 1992, Auch finished sixth. She added a 17th-place finish in the 1,000 metres. From there, she caught her groove. At the 1994 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games, Auch transformed into one of the world’s fastest ladies speed skaters and captured back-to-back silver medals in the 500 metres. Her first, in 1994, was just 0.36 seconds from gold. There, in Lillehammer, she also set a personal-high 1,000-metre finish, eighth. Auch retired in 1999, but passion for sport lured her back and she competed at her final Games in 2002. She finished 21st in the 500 metres, 27th in the 1,000 metres.

Her Olympic success tells only part of the story. She dominated the Canadian scene from 1990 through 1995, winning six straight overall national sprint titles. At World Championships, first she captured gold, silver and bronze in short track speed skating in 1984 and 1988. Then, in long track, she went on to capture three silver medals and one bronze in the 500 metres at four separate World Sprint Championships. Twice Auch finished second overall in the World Cup for 500 metres, and twice she finished third overall in that same event.

In Winnipeg, what was formally named the Sargent Park Oval is now known as the Susan Auch Oval.