Norman Douglas Lane
Born: November 6, 1919 (Toronto)
Died: August 6, 2014 (Hamilton, Ontario)
Norman Lane won a bronze medal in canoe at the 1948 Olympics in London, one of only three medals won by Canada at the first post-war Games.
In a five-man field at Henley-on-Thames, Lane earned his medal in the gruelling 10,000-metre Canadian singles canoe race, finishing behind gold medalist Frantisek Capek of Czechoslovakia, a 33-year-old bank clerk, and Frank Havens of the United States, an automobile insurance adjuster. Lane finished in 1 hour, four minutes, 35.3 seconds, more than two minutes behind the Czech, but more than two minutes ahead of Raymond Argentin of France and Ingemar Andersson of Sweden.
“It was a very drizzly day, misty,” he told the Toronto Star two years ago. “We all set off and went around the course (three times around an island). It was just about like a workout. I was fairly relaxed — just went in there to do my best and that’s what I did and it worked out.”
He had trained at home by paddling 10-kilometres per day off the Scarbourough Bluffs.
Four years later, Lane returned to the Olympics in Helsinki only to finish fifth in a 10,000-metre race won by Havens, who was from Arlington, Va. Lane’s brother, Ken, paired with Donald Hawgood to take the silver in the same distance.
Lane was a lifetime member of the Balmy Beach Canoe Club in Toronto, winning numerous regattas. He finished third at the Canadian championships in 1940. He won the title in 1950 between his two Olympic competitions.
By the time Lane competed at the London Olympics, he was a mathematics professor at St. Andrew’s College, having completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He later earned a doctorate from the University of Toronto and served as a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton from 1952 until retiring in 1987.
Lane died in his sleep at home, aged 94. He leaves Doris, his wife of 71 years; five sons; and, nine grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister and two brothers, including Ken, who was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2003. Ken Lane died of leukemia in 2010, aged 86.