Bobbie Rosenfeld

Fanny "Bobbie" Rosenfeld (December 28, 1904 – November 14, 1969) was a Canadian athlete, who won a gold medal for the 100-metre relay and a silver medal for the 100-metre at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. She was named "Canadian woman athlete of the half-century" in 1949,[1] and a star at basketball, hockey, softball, and tennis. She was named Canada's Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900–1950). She also was called Bobbie for her "bobbed" haircut. The Bobbie Rosenfeld Award is named in her honour. She was also inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.[2]

Bobbie Rosenfeld
Ethel Smith Fanny Rosenfeld 1928 Olympics cropped.jpg
Fanny Rosenfeld at the 1928 Olympics
Personal information
BornDecember 28, 1904
Ekaterinoslav, Russian Empire (now Dnipro, Ukraine)
DiedNovember 13, 1969 (aged 64)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight61 kg (134 lb)

Early lifeEdit

Rosenfeld, who was Jewish,[3] was born in Ekaterinoslav in the Russian Empire (now Dnipro, Ukraine). Rosenfeld immigrated to Ontario, Canada with her parents and older brother when she was still a child; they settled in Barrie, Ontario. Her father Max Rosenfeld operated a junk business and her mother Sarah, who gave birth to three more girls, ran the home. Fanny attended Central School and Barrie Collegiate Institute, where she excelled in sports. In 1923, the Rosenfeld family moved to Toronto, where Fanny worked at a chocolate factory in 1923.[4] For leisure, she joined Toronto's Young Women's Hebrew Association (YWHA) and was a center for their basketball team. That year, they won both the Toronto and Ontario championships. Her legend would grow in 1923 at a picnic in Beaverton. She entered a 100-yard (91 m) dash and defeated the Canadian champion, Rosa Grosse. Later that year, she competed in a track meet at the Canadian National Exhibition.[5]

Athletic careerEdit

At the 1925 Ontario Ladies Track and Field championships, in a single day performance, Rosenfeld placed first in discus, shot put, 220-yard (200 m) dash, low hurdles, and long jump, and placed second in the javelin and 100-yard (91 m) dash. In the mid-1920s, she held national records in the 440-yard (400 m) open relay with a CNE relay team, as well as in the standing broad jump, discus, javelin, and shot put.[6]

In addition to track and field, Rosenfeld played basketball on Toronto's Young Women's Hebrew Association (YWHA) team that twice went to the finals of the national championship. She played on city championship teams in ice hockey, fastball, and softball. In 1924, having only just taken up the sport, Rosenfeld claimed the title of the Toronto Ladies Grass Court Tennis championship. She also competed in lacrosse, golf, and speed skating.

In the spring of 1939, Rosenfeld was the manager of Langley's Lakesides softball team. The team played an exhibition game in front of 14,000 fans at Madison Square Garden.[7]


Rosenfeld was a hockey player in the 1920s and was dubbed superwoman of ladies' hockey. During the 1920s and 30s, she was one of Canada's most famous female hockey players. Rosenfeld was a centre on the 1927 and '29 Ontario champion Toronto Patterson Pats. The Pats were part of the North Toronto Ladies' City League. Rosenfeld helped form the Ladies Ontario Hockey Association in 1924.[8] Rosenfeld was president of the LOHA from 1934 to 1939.[9] By late 1936, Rosenfeld was not only the LOHA president, but served as the secretary and the treasurer.[10] She was considered the most outstanding women's hockey player in all of Ontario during 1931–32.


During the Olympic trials for the 1928 Games, Rosenfeld set numerous Canadian track and field records. These records included the running broad jump, standing broad jump and the discus. Her time in the 100 metres was four-fifths of a second slower than the world record at that time.[11] She would go on to compete in the 1928 Summer Olympics and claim a gold medal in the 4 × 100 m relay. In the 100-yard (91 m) dash, Rosenfeld earned a silver medal.


Rosenfeld developed severe arthritis, and the condition forced her to stop competing in 1933. A year later she was coach of the Canadian women's track and field team at the British Commonwealth Games in London, England. During the 1930s, she was an administrator and official in women's softball and ice hockey in Ontario. In 1936, Rosenfeld would turn her attention to journalism. She worked as a sports columnist for The Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper for roughly twenty years, advocating for greater participation of women in sports and more girls physical education programs in schools.[12] In 1937, she introduced a column called Feminine Sports Reel[4] and was a staunch advocate of women's sport. For 18 years, Rosenfeld covered women's sports.[13] In 1955, she was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.[14] Her last column appeared on December 3, 1958 but she continued to work for the newspaper until 1966.

Fanny Bobbie Rosenfeld died on November 13, 1969 in Toronto and is buried at Lambton Mills Cemetery in Humber Valley Village.[15]


"Athletic maids to arms! ... We are taking up the sword, and high time it is in defense of our so-called athletic bodies to give the lie to those pen flourishers who depict us not as paragons of feminine physique, beauty and health, but rather as Amazons and ugly ducklings all because we have become sports-minded." – Fanny Bobbie Rosenfeld (Jewish Women's Archives)[16]

Awards and honoursEdit

  • 1924 – Toronto grass-courts tennis championship title
  • Five 1st place and two 2nd place titles at Ontario Ladies' Track and Field Championships
  • World record (since broken), 100 yd (91 m). dash (11.0 seconds)
  • 1931 – Leading home run hitter in softball league
  • 1931–32 – Most outstanding woman hockey player in Ontario
  • Canada's Female Athlete of the First Half-Century (1900–1950)[4]
  • 1949 – inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
  • 1976 – recognized by the Canadian Historic Sites and Monuments Board as a national historic person
  • 1991 – Bobbie Rosenfeld Park – a park and open space located between the Rogers Centre and the CN Tower in Toronto
  • Government of Canada plaque at Allandale Recreation Centre in Barrie, Ontario in honour of the athlete who settled and grew up in the city.[18]
  • 1996 – commemorative stamp issued by Canada Post
  • The official website of the 2012 Summer Olympics states her as the first Ukraine-born gold medal winner.[19]
  • 2016 – Rosenfeld was one of the five finalists considered for a new Canadian banknote to honour a notable Canadian woman. The new banknote, released in 2018, did not feature Rosenfeld.[20]
  • Bobbie Rosenfeld trophy awarded by the Canadian Press each year to Canada's Female Athlete of the Year.[21]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Forster, Merna (2004). 100 Canadian Heroines. Toronto: Dundurn Group. p. 216. ISBN 1-55002-514-7.
  2. ^ "Bobbie Rosenfeld". Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Toronto Jewry. The Canadian Jewish Chronicle. September 28, 1928
  4. ^ a b c Bobby Rosenfeld.
  5. ^ "Ontario Jewish Archives". Ontario Jewish Archives.
  6. ^ Bibliography in Jewish Women Encyclopedia
  7. ^ Immodest and Sensational: 150 Years of Canadian Women in Sport, M. Ann Hall, p.47, James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Toronto, 2008, ISBN 978-1-55277-021-4
  8. ^ "Profiles of Notable Women in Hockey". Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  9. ^ Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.138, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  10. ^ Coast to Coast:Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, p.145, Edited by John Chi-Kit Wong, University of Toronto Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8020-9532-9
  11. ^ "Femmes à l'honneur: Leurs réalisations – Bibliothèque et Archives Canada". Archived from the original on October 9, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  12. ^ Forster, Merna (2004). 100 Canadian Heroines. Dundurn Group. p. 217. ISBN 1-55002-514-7.
  13. ^ read Sports Reel, in Jewish Women's Archive, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 9, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Honoured Members: Profile". Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 25, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  15. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia
  16. ^ Forster, Merna (2004). 100 Canadian Heroines. Toronto: Dundurn Group. p. 217. ISBN 1-55002-514-7.
  17. ^ "Fanny "Bobbie" Rosenfeld Historical Plaque". November 14, 1969. Retrieved March 1, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Fanny Bobbie Rosenfeld Historical Plaque". Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  19. ^ Ukraine Archived October 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Official website of the 2012 Summer Olympics
  20. ^
  21. ^ Forster, Merna (2004). 100 Canadian Heroines. Dundurn Group. p. 217.


  • Anne Dublin, Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian who Could Do Everything, Second Story Press, Toronto, 2004, code ISBN 1-896764-82-7
  • Cruxton J Bradley and Wilson, W. Douglas "Spotlight Canada: Fourth Edition"

External linksEdit