FORD V-8’s Basketball Team
Gold medal winners in basketball at the 1936 Olympics
It was during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany that Canada earned its first and only medal in Basketball courtesy of Windsor’s own FORD V-8’s.
During the 1930’s, Windsor was a hot-bed of basketball activity mostly due to the fact that many players from Windsor attended American colleges, where the competition in sports was much greater than in Canada. When it came time to send a team to represent Canada at the Summer Olympics in 1936, there was no national Team Canada so competitions were held between various local teams from all over the country. The FORD V-8’s captured the Eastern Canada title, and then qualified to represent Canada by defeating the Western Canada champions, Victoria Dominoes.
Members of the team were Jim Stewart, Gord Aitchison, Don Gray, Tom Pendlebury, Doug Peden, Ian Allison, Malcom “Red” Wiseman, Ed Dawson, Howard Campbell, Irving “Toots” Meretsky, Chuck Chapman, Norm Dawson , Stanley “Red” Nantais, Art Chapman and Ernie Williams. The coach was Gordon Fuller.
Their toughest hurdle was to raise the money needed to make the trip to Germany as they were told there would be no government assistance. Luckily the Ford Motor Company, their team sponsor, agreed to pay the cost of the trip and the V-8’s were on their way.
Arriving in Berlin, the team played all their games on a clay tennis court, rain or shine. The V-8’s went on to beat Brazil, Poland, Switzerland, Uruguay and Latvia before facing the United States in the Gold Medal game. Playing on a rain-soaked clay court, they lost to the Americans by a score of 19-8, thus capturing the Olympic Silver Medal for Basketball.
Up to this day, they are the only Canadian team to medal at the Olympics in the sport of Basketball.
Techko, Tony and Carl Morgan. “The Olympians Among Us.” Tecumseh, Ont. 1995.