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Doug Anakin, winner of Canada’s 1st Olympic gold in bobsled, dies at 89

The Canadian four man bobsled team in the Winter Olympic event in the third run at Igls, Austria, Feb. 6, 1964. Front to back; Piloted by Victor Emery, Douglas Anakin, John Emery, and Peter Kirby. Douglas Anakin, who helped Canada win Olympic bobsled gold in 1964, has died at age 89. Anakin, Peter Kirby and brothers John and Vic Emery claimed four-man gold at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
The Canadian four man bobsled team in the Winter Olympic event in the third run at Igls, Austria, Feb. 6, 1964. Front to back; Piloted by Victor Emery, Douglas Anakin, John Emery, and Peter Kirby. Douglas Anakin, who helped Canada win Olympic bobsled gold in 1964, has died at age 89. Anakin, Peter Kirby and brothers John and Vic Emery claimed four-man gold at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ file

Douglas Anakin, who helped Canada win Olympic bobsled gold in 1964, has died at age 89.

Anakin, Peter Kirby and brothers John and Vic Emery claimed four-man gold at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

They won Canada’s lone Olympic gold medal of the Innsbruck Games and country’s first in bobsled.

Canada’s four-men bobsleigh team, Doug Anakin, Vic Emery, John Emery and Peter Kirby, celebrates its gold medal performance at the 1964 Innsbruck winter Olympics.
Canada’s four-men bobsleigh team, Doug Anakin, Vic Emery, John Emery and Peter Kirby, celebrates its gold medal performance at the 1964 Innsbruck winter Olympics. CP Photo/COC

The teammates were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame that year.

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John piloted the sled. The inexperienced Canadians, who didn’t have a home track in their country, were considered surprise winners over favourites Austria and Italy.

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Their Hall of Fame biography said they had only four practice runs on the Innsbruck track compared to multiple runs by the Italians and Austrians.

Anakin, born in Chatham, Ont., was the smallest member of the team at five foot seven and 150 pounds. He also represented Canada in luge in Innsbruck.

Anakin dropped out of the luge competition after two runs because of minor injuries, and also because of scheduling conflicts with the bobsled competition, according to the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Canada’s bobsleigh team Doug Anakin, Vic Emery, John Emery and Peter Kirby, at the 1964 Innsbruck winter Olympics.
Canada’s bobsleigh team Doug Anakin, Vic Emery, John Emery and Peter Kirby, at the 1964 Innsbruck winter Olympics. CP Photo/COC

After retiring from sliding sports in 1967, Anakin taught outdoor education at John Abbott College in Montreal and owned a sports store in Beaconsfield, Que.

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He coached the Canadian luge team at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

He met his wife Mary Jean in 1964 and the couple retired to Windermere, B.C., in the 1990s.

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Anakin died April 25, according to an obituary posted by a B.C. funeral home and the Montreal Gazette.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.