Johnny Sands, a four-time Canadian senior
speed skating champion, scaled Olympic heights twice, racing for Canada
in the 1956 Games in Lake Misurina, Italy, and the 1960 games at Squaw
Sands grew up in the Mayfair district, was
skating with the Saskatoon Lions Club at the age of 12 in 1946 and
dominated his age classes for 11 years.
He won his first Canadian title as a
13-year-old at 440 yards at Sudbury, Ont. in 1947 and within seven
years, was skating with the best in the senior division. He shared the
Canadian men's overall title with Frank Stack in 1953, won it on his own
in 1955, 1957 and 1958.
Johnny qualified for the Canadian Olympic
team in 1956, falling in the 500 metre sprint and finishing 45th in
2:20.17 in the 1,500 metres. At the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, he
was 27th in the 500 metres in 42.8 seconds and 43rd in the 1,500 metres
at 2:28.04. In 1962, he held the unofficial North American record for
220 yards with a clocking of 17.9 seconds at Saranac Lake, New York.
also won national recognition in junior football, starring as a halfback
with the Saskatoon Hilltops. In 1951 and 1952, the Hilltops lost in the
western final but in 1953, they became the first Hilltop team to win a
Canadian championship, beating Windsor AKO in Saskatoon.