Home of Olympic legends
The Greater Trail Area has many Olympic connections woven into the fabric of the community for the last 100 odd years.
Many notable Olympians have come from the area, with a number of them going on to become champions and the best in their class.
Trail’s Olympians are comfortably spread between Summer and Winter Games compared to Rossland’s mostly winter achievers.
Joe Haley is perhaps the earliest known Olympian from the region born October 6, 1913 in Trail.
Haley was a high jumper who participated in the 1936 Berlin Summer Games as well as finishing second in the 1934 British Empire Games.
At 22 years old, Haley tied for 12th place in the men’s high jump as the only Canadian in the event, he passed away in 1997.
The next Olympian from Trail was Louis Secco who won gold for Canada at the 1952 Oslo Winter Games with the Edmonton Mercury’s.
Born Jan. 18, 1927 Secco was a Smoke Eater until he was recruited to the Mercury’s in 1952 to play alongside the one and only Gordie Robertson from Castlegar. He also played for the Rossland Warriors and worked for Cominco, he passed away Oct. 27, 2008.
Donald Bruneski was an alpine skiing participant in the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics in men’s downhill and slalom.
At 22 years of age, he ranked 28th in the downhill and 22nd in slalom.
Trail’s Gary Battistella, who passed away Dec. 12, 2007 at 67 years old, was also an alpine skier and ranked 28th in men’s downhill at the 1964 Innsbruck Games.
Dianne Gerace, born October 26, 1943, was a pentathlete and high jumper at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo.
She ranked 5th place in the high jump and 15th as a pentathlete at 20-years-old.
Hockey man Steve Tambellini participated in the 1988 Calgary Winter Games when Canada came in 4th and the Soviet Union grabbed the gold.
Micheal Zanier was born August 22, 1962 in Trail and played for Italy’s men’s ice hockey team in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, when the Italians came in 12th.
Red Mountain Racer’s Diana ‘Dee-Dee’ Haight came in 17th place in woman’s giant slalom at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo at age 19.
Black Jack’s Rhonda DeLong was a cross country skier at the 1992 Albertville Olympics coming in with her best result in the women’s 4x5 km relay where she helped the team come in 11th place.
Another Red Mountain Racer Kerrin Lee-Gartner is currently the first and only Canadian to win the Olympic downhill event at the 1992 Albertville Games. She also participated in the 1988 Calgary Games and the 1994 Lillehammer Games in downhill, super G, combined and slalom throughout her career.
Trail’s Avalanche hockey great Adam Deadmarsh was born in Trail but played for the United States internationally at the 1998 Nagano Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City games where he won a silver medal.
Finishing off the list as the most recent Olympian from Trail is Lauren Bay-Regula who played softball in the 2004 Athens Games taking 5th followed by a 4th place at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Rossland’s eldest Olympian is George Merry, born April 28, 1929 who participated at the 1952 Oslo Games and came in 41st place in the men’s slalom as a 22 year old.
Next would be the one and only Seth Martin born May 4, 1933 who played for the Rossland Warriors and played in the 1964 Innsbruck Games bringing Canada’s Hockey team to 4th place.
Don Bertoia, born Feb. 16, 1940 and recently celebrated his 70th birthday, was involved in the 1964 Tokyo Games in the men’s 800 metres finishing in 7th place.
Other Red Mountain Racer Olympian’s include Don Steven’s who placed 19th in the men’s combined alpine skiing at the 1988 Calgary Games and Kevin Wert who also placed 19th at the 1998 Nagano Games in the men’s downhill.
Derek Mayer also from Rossland won Canada a silver medal at the 1994 Lilihammer Games.
Summer athlete Carolyn Murray placed 29 in the women’s Olympic distance triathlon at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Rounding out the Alpine City’s Red Mountain Racers is Dave Anderson who came in 38 at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games in the men’s downhill.
Many other athletes came to the Greater Trail area to train without being born there including Nancy Green-Raine, Elizabeth Greene, Verne Anderson and Peter Bosinger among others.
Fast forward to 2010 and Paralympic sit skier Kimberely Joines who was born in Edmonton but calls Rossland home, is ready to go for gold first event in Whistler the downhill on March 13. She also took home a bronze medal in Torino and is a world champion many times over.
Last, but not least, is Rossland’s cross-country golden boy George Grey who has come off a very successful 2010 Olympics ranking in 7th place during the 4x10km relay, 8th place during the 30 km pursuit, 18th during the 50 km mass start and 29th at the 15 km individual.
As well as participating at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, he is resting from the eventful games and setting his sights at maybe trying the field in 2014 in Russia.