Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)
Linda Thom first learned how to shoot at the age of eight, taught by her father. She did not begin to compete, however, until she was a student at Carleton University in the 1960s, but quickly grew in skill and won her first of six consecutive Canadian pistol championships in 1970. She also participated in that year’s World Championships, placing sixth and ninth in the air and match pistol events respectively, and later took part in the 1974 edition. In 1975, the year of her final national championship, she graduated from a Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris, retired from active competition, and began running a cooking school. Upon hearing that women’s pistol shooting was to become an Olympic sport, however, she resumed training and regained her Canadian title in 1982, appearing in another edition of the World Championships later that year. She defended her national crown in 1983 and took her talents to that year’s Pan American Games, where she won silver in the 25 metre pistol and bronze in the 10 metre air pistol. She then achieved her goal of attending the 1984 Summer Olympics, where she won the 25 m pistol event, earning a number of distinctions. Aside from becoming the first woman to win an Olympic shooting event (hers was the first ever women’s shooting event at the Games), she was the first Canadian Olympic gold medalist since 1968, the first individual gold medalist since 1956, and the first female Canadian summer gold medalist since 1928. She was awarded the Velma Springstead Trophy as Canada’s top female athlete of 1984 and made a member of the Order of Canada in 1985, the same year that she won her final national championship. Citing neck and shoulder injuries, she retired in 1987 and returned to her cooking business, later becoming involved in real estate and, on occasion, coaching. In 1995 she attempted to run as a Conservative for a seat in Ontario’s Parliament, but was defeated by Dalton McGuinty, who later became Premier of the province. She has been inducted into the Ottawa (1986) and Canada’s (1992) Sports Halls of Fame and a park in Ottawa is named in her honor.
|1984 Summer||40||Los Angeles||Shooting||Women's Sporting Pistol, 25 metres||Canada||CAN||1||Gold||OR|