Gérald Gratton

Gérald Gratton, weightlifter, bricklayer. (born at Montréal, 29 Aug 1927; died there 27 July 1963). During the 1950s, Gérald Gratton was recognized as a very great Canadian athlete. His numerous medals and the records that he set both in Canada and in the British Commonwealth were the fruit of great discipline combined with an impeccable work ethic.

In 1948, at the age of 20, Gratton took part in the OLYMPICS in London, where Canadians participated in Olympic WEIGHTLIFTING competition for the first time. Of the five Canadian weightlifters present, Gratton posted the best result with a fifth place.

The day after the Olympic closing ceremony, the Canadian strong man took part in the British Empire Weightlifting Championships at the Scala Theatre in London. Gratton distinguished himself by reaching the highest step on the podium in the mid-weight category.

A few years later, in 1950, he won the gold medal at the British Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Then, in 1952, at the Helsinki Olympics, he tied the middle-weight world record in press. His brilliant performance procured him a first place. However, after his attempt, an American official protested on the pretext that the Canadian bent his back too much during a lift. The other officials agreed and the Canadian contender had to be content with the silver medal.

In Vancouver in 1954, he remained an important part of the Canadian team at the Empire Games, and at that time the Verdun native was designated to carry the flag at the opening ceremonies. In the middle-weight category of the weightlifting competition, he relegated his closest rival by lifting a total of more than 36 kilos.

Two years later, he was part of the Canadian team at the Olympics in Melbourne. A few days before the beginning of the weightlifting tournament some already pictured him on the Olympic podium. The athlete, then in his third Olympics, was two kilos overweight at the time. During the official weigh-in, the Canadian team was faced with a genuine calamity: Gérald Gratton was disqualified from the Olympic competition for an excess weight of one hundred grams!

After this heart-breaking event, Gratton participated in his last COMMONWEALTH GAMES in 1958. He retired from competition in the late 1950s.

In June 1963, he was seriously harmed by injuries in an automobile accident, and he breathed his last a few days later at the age of 35.

In 1955, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame recognized his accomplishments by opening its doors to him in its first year. In spite of this, Gérald Gratton remains one of the forgotten greats of our Canadian sports heritage.