Donald George Jackson joined the local skating club at the age
of eight and it was the beginning of a journey that would culminate
in a World Championship 13 years later.
Jackson was born in Oshawa on April 2, 1940 and discovered the
grace and athleticism of figure skating while watching the Barbara
Ann Scott Skating Show as a seven-year-old boy.
The following year, he joined the Oshawa Skating Club and met former
Canadian Junior champion Dick McLaughlin. McLaughlin was the president
of the club and would later hold the same position with the Canadian
Figure Skating Association.
Over the next decade, Jackson was coached by such luminaries as
1949 World Pairs champions Ede Kiraly, Great Britain's Arnold Gerschwiler,
Otto Gold, who helped Canadian Barbara Ann Scott win to the world
title in 1947 and 1948, and Pierre Brunet, who taught Jackson the
rare triple lutz.
But it was Sheldon Galbraith who put all the pieces together as
the 1961 World Championships approached. Galbraith helped develop
the free skate program that would catapult Jackson into Canadian
But a world title would have to wait as tragedy struck the figure
skating community. Jackson fell ill and missed his flight to Prague.
Tragically, that plane, which was carrying the U.S. team, crashed
upon landing, killing all on board. In a show of respect, the World
Championships were cancelled.
The following year, Jackson was 45 points behind the favoured Russian,
Karol Divin, after the compulsories. Needing a performance nearing
perfection, the 21-year-old skated the program of his life, including
the first triple lutz in world competition, to snatch the gold medal
away from his Russian counterpart.
The crowd stood and cheered as perfect 6 after perfect 6, seven
in all, was displayed on the board.
That year, Jackson was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's
Outstanding Athlete of the Year. He is also a member of the Canadian
Sports Hall of Fame in Toronto.