SSHoF logoGary Goplen

Athlete (1999)


Gary GoplenGary Goplen first won a Canadian speed skating title in 1973 and achieved much success in his career, culminating in 1977 with two medal victories at the North American championships and representing Canada in the world junior and world men's championships. Gary joined the Saskatoon Lions Speed Skating Club in the fall of 1970.

Saskatchewan winters were usually filled with cold, chilling experiences on the outdoor Optimist oval. Gary was an impact skater for Saskatchewan at the 1975 Canada Winter Games at Lethbridge, winning gold in the 1,500 metres, bronze in the 800 metres and bronze in the 1,500 mass metres. After winning gold in record time in the 3,000 metres and two other medals in the Canadian intermediate finals, Gary was selected to the Canadian national speed skating team in 1975-76.

Gary enjoyed a banner year in 1977. He won gold in the 800 metres and bronze in the 1,500 metres at the North American championships at Bridgeport, Connecticut. He skated for Canada at the world juniors in Inzell, West Germany, placing 15th over the four distances, and skated for Canada at the world men's championships at Heereveen, Netherlands.

He competed in wrestling, judo, soccer and sailing while in high school and one of his favorite pastimes was track and field. A distance runner in high school, Gary took on the challenge of steeplechase as well, finishing second in the Canadian junior finals in 1976, fourth in the Canadian seniors in 1976 and fourth at the Canada Summer Games in Newfoundland in 1977. Gary was also active in cycling, racing in the 1978 Canadian championships, winning the provincial 50-mile road race in 1979 and competing in cycling at the 1979 Western Canada Summer Games. Gary married Nancy Durnin, who had been a member of the Canadian speed skating team, in 1984.