August 18, 2021

RAINFOREST TRAIL RUN recognizes Angela Chalmers as the first indigenous athlete to win an Olympic medal for Canada

Angela Chalmers won the gold medal in 1994 Commonwealth Games 3000m in Victoria

Angela Chalmers is one of Canada’s greatest track and field athletes. She has just been inducted into Athletics Canada's Hall of Fame. Angela is an Olympic medalist, who through hours of training, perseverance and personal sacrifice, rose through the ranks of track and field to become one of the best in the world.  She is a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist  earning medals at the 1990 Auckland  Games and the 1994 Victoria Games in the 1,500 and 3,000 metre events.  In 1992, she won a Bronze Medal at the Barcelona Olympics in the 3,000 metre event and a Silver Medal at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis in 1987.  Angela Chalmers is also an extraordinary role model for Aboriginal children, who generously gave precious time to visit reserves to speak to the young people of these communities.  Born in Brandon, Manitoba in 1963 to a Sioux mother and Scottish father, Angela moved to Nanaimo and then to Victoria, B.C. as a young girl.

“My mother is Sioux from the Birdtail Sioux Reservation. I am status Indian and a member of that band. But I also feel my roots on Vancouver Island because my dad was born in Victoria and my aunts, an uncle and cousins live there.”

Upon graduation from high school, she accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Northern Arizona University where she earned All-American Honours eight times and was an NCAA cross country champion.  Since 1990, Ms. Chalmers lived and trained in Victoria.  

Her first major national competition was the 1981 Canada Summer games in Thunder Bay. Representing Manitoba, she brought home two silver medals in the 800 and 1500 metre events. At the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, she became the first woman in the history of the Games to win both the 1,500 and 3,000 metre races.

Angela is the first indigenous athlete to win an Olympic medal for Canada

Her greatest triumph is winning the 3,000 metre bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Angela Chalmers’ thoughts were of her late father. “My dad was a big influence in my life although he died in 1984 before the Olympic trials,” Chalmers said following the race. “I said to him when he was in the hospital that I wanted to prove to him that I could do it.”

Anglea Chalmers wins the Commonwealth 3000m gold medal in her hometown, Victoria

In 1994, the 30 year old Chalmers successfully defended her 3,000 metre crown at the Victoria Commonwealth Games. In front of her hometown crowd at Centennial Stadium, she broke the Canadian and Commonwealth records, another historic achievement. She remains the only woman in Games history to successfully defend the 3,000-metre crown.

Angela has also acted as a respected spokeswoman for Aboriginal empowerment throughout her involvement with sport and has actively campaigned against drug and alcohol abuse. In 1995, she received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Sports.

She was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (2001), the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (2004) and In Her Footsteps..CELEBRATING WOMEN IN SPORT (2006)

For Video Biography CLICK HERE
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