Sarah's Stars

Ron Hotchkiss. The Matchless Six: The Story of Canada’s First Women’s Olympic Team
Tundra Books  $22.99  ISBN – 0-88776-738-9  187 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 14

The weather for the opening ceremonies of the ninth Olympiad of the modern era wasn’t promising. The series of thunderstorms that had swept into Amsterdam the day before threatened to last not only hours but days. Shortly before the Olympic pageantry began, however, the skies half-cleared and the rain stopped. Yet Lou Marsh was apprehensive, as he sat among the world’s press in their section of the stadium. Would the Canadian team be overlooked in the reception given to the immense squads from the United States, Germany, Poland, and Holland? Would Canada’s athletes receive scattered applause and be downhearted or discouraged by the mighty cheers expected for the Americas, Germans, and others?

Jane Bell, Ethel Catherwood, Myrtle Cook, Bobbie Rosenfeld, Ethel Smith and Jean Thompson, six ordinary women, one extraordinary adventure. Before the time of the ‘Matchless Six’ track and field had been considered too exhausting for women. They were too weak to compete and women exercising and sweating was an unseemly sight that portrayed them to be un-feminine. But these six women had a dream and they dared to do what no woman before them had done, they were Olympic Track-and-field Champions.

From start to finish, The Matchless Six was a truly enjoyable story. For a female reading the story, I was proud of how these women had trained and dared and succeeded. Seeing how women were degraded and how they were refused entry into the Olympics, how they fought back and created their own and finally won their battle, it was very heartening. I would recommend this story for girls ages 13 and up. I think that many women (and maybe some men) will be interested and delighted with this wonderful story.

I’d give The Matchless Six five stars out of five.

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