Toller Cranston

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameToller Shalitoe Montague•Cranston
Used nameToller•Cranston
Born20 April 1949 in Hamilton, Ontario (CAN)
Died24 January 2015 in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato (MEX)
Measurements172 cm / 68 kg
AffiliationsToronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club, Toronto (CAN)
NOC Canada
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 1


Considered a revolutionary in the world of men’s figure skating and an artistic pioneer, Toller Cranston’s career began at the age of six, but his rise to fame was slow. He performed poorly at his first Canadian championship and failed to make the Canadian Olympic delegation in 1968. Encouraged by Coach Ellen Burka, he began to capture the attention of his native Canada in 1970 with his second-place finish at the Canadian Championships, and his innovative and artistic style began to transform the sport. The following year he won the first of six successive Canadian Championships and was runner-up at the North American Championships. He never won a World Championship over his career from 1970 through 1976, placing 13th in 1970, 11th in 1971, 5th in 1972 and 1973, 3rd in 1974 and 4th in 1975 and 1976, but he did cap off his career with a bronze medal in the singles event at the 1976 Winter Olympics, having previously finished 9th at the 1972 tournament.

Over the course of the career Cranston paved the way for future generations of male figures to be freer and more open in their routines, and added a high degree of artistry to the sport. His talent and influence in the sport were first recognized in 1974 when he was named the Sports Federation Athlete of the Year. After his Olympic medal, he received many more accolades: he was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1976, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1977, Skate Canada’s Hall of Fame in 1977, and Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2003, in addition to being made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977 and receiving a Special Olympic Order from the Canadian Olympic Association in 1995. He was also labeled by the European press as the “skater of the century”. He turned professional at the age of 27 and continued to skate a major ice shows for the next two decades before taking up painting and building a reputation as an artist. He has also worked as a skating choreographer and a commentator for CBC and, later in life, split his time between Mexico and Canada.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) CAN Toller Cranston
Singles, Men (Olympic) 9
1976 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) CAN Toller Cranston
Singles, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze

Special Notes