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Frances Dafoe

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFrances Helen•Dafoe (-Melnik, -Bogin)
Used nameFrances•Dafoe
Born17 December 1929 in Toronto, Ontario (CAN)
Died23 September 2016 in Toronto, Ontario (CAN)
AffiliationsToronto Skating Club, Toronto (CAN)
NOC Canada


In 1955, a year before she and partner Norris Bowden won a silver medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics, such was the prominence of Frances Dafoe in the world of figure skating that she was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Prior to her induction she and Bowden had spent four years (1952-1955) as Canadian pairs champions, three (1953-1955) as North American champions and two (1954-1955) as world champions in figure skating pairs. They were also runner up at the World Championships in 1953 and 1956 and 4th in 1952. The duo had competed at the 1952 Winter Olympics, finishing fifth, but at the 1956 Games they were defeated narrowly (and controversially) by only the Austrians. Among the moves that Dafoe and Bowden pioneered were the twist lift, the overhead lasso lift, the throw jump, and the “leap of faith”. After retiring as a competitor in 1956, she worked as a costume designer, designing costumes for figure skaters, as well as for television, theatre and ballet performances. Perhaps her most notable work was the design of 650 costumes for the closing ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. She later worked as a figure skating judge, which was delayed not only due to a suspension from the Canadian Figure Skating Association, but also by Bowden’s career, as the duo were not permitted to be world-level judges at the same time, and Dafoe felt that the older Bowden should have his turn first. Eventually, however, she was a judge at the 1984 World Championships and the 1994 Winter Olympics. In 1991 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In addition to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, she was also inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1958 and the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 1993.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1952 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) CAN Frances Dafoe
Pairs, Mixed (Olympic) Norris Bowden 5
1956 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) CAN Frances Dafoe
Pairs, Mixed (Olympic) Norris Bowden 2 Silver


Games Sport (Discipline) / Event NOC / Team Phase Unit Role As
1994 Winter Olympics Figure Skating (Skating) CAN Frances Dafoe
Pairs, Mixed (Olympic) Short Program Judge #5
Pairs, Mixed (Olympic) Free Skating Judge #5

Special Notes