Cathy Priestner began her career as a speed skater at the age of 11, after moving from Ontario to Winnipeg and making new friends at the speed skating club, and in less than a year had already won her first national championship. She made Winter Olympic appearances in 1972 and 1976, claiming silver in the 500m event at her second Games and becoming the first female Canadian speed skating medalist. She carried Canada’s flag at that Game’s closing ceremonies and took the torch into the stadium at the opening of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The year of her Olympic success, she was invited to the Calgary Booster Club’s “Athlete of the Year” dinner but, not wanting to be the only woman at the event, she turned down the offer until she was prematurely told that she had already won the award. After her retirement she worked as an Olympic commentator for CBC and CTV before taking roles in organizing the 1988, 2002 (as Managing Director of Sport), 2006 (as Managing Director of Games Operations) and 2010 Winter Olympics (as Executive Vice President of Sport, Paralympic Games and Venue Management). These roles have made her the first woman in any country to head the sports function at an Olympic Game. For several years after the 1988 Olympics Games she managed the oval used in that year’s speed skating venue and in 2004 authored the “Own the Podium 2010” report. In 2007, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity named her to their annual list of the Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity. She was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1994.
Personal Bests: 500 – 42.19 (1976); 1000 – 1:26.49 (1976); 1500 – 2:19.81 (1975); 3000 – 5:08.75 (1975).