Francis Lukeman

Francis Lawrence Lukeman, (born at Montréal 20 Jun 1885; died at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC 23 Dec 1946). Nicknamed the "Flying Canuck" thanks to the great speed that he exhibited in athletic competitions, he took part in the OLYMPIC GAMES in London (1908) and Stockholm (1912) in TRACK AND FIELD.

Already a member of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association for some time, Francis Lukeman took part in his first large-scale competition on 20 Sep 1903 at the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada (AAUC) championships in Montréal. At that time, he participated in the 220 and 440-yard races, however without distinction. Subsequently, he had some success at the local level in sprinting, and acquitted himself well in high jump and long jump.

He had his first major international victory at the US domestic track and field championships in October 1907. At this time, he won the gold medal in the 150-yard dash contested on the track of Madison Square Garden.

In January 1908, he made records in 100, 120 and 220 yard SNOWSHOEING races held in Québec at the first major convention of the Canadian Snowshoe Union (Union canadienne des raquetteurs). These winter records that held for several years testify to the great care the runner took with his physical fitness.

That same year, Lukeman went to London for the Olympics, where he participated in the 100 and 200 metre events, the running long jump, and the 4 x 400 metre relay.

Several months later, five years after his first Canadian championships, he achieved four medals in the 1908 championships: first place in the 220 yard race, the 120 yard hurdle, and the long jump, with a third in the 110-yard dash.

Late in the decade of 1900-1910, the athlete left Montréal to settle in Ottawa where he was a member of the Rough Riders FOOTBALL team, still continuing to dominate in track and field.

In July 1911, he was on the Canadian team at the games for the Festival of the Empire that celebrated the coronation of King George V in London.

The following year, Lukeman took part in the Olympics in Stockholm. Then, he participated in the 100 metre and 110 metre hurdle events, as well as the pentathlon and the decathlon. Although he did not succeed in completing the ten trials in the decathlon, he finished fourth in the pentathlon that included the long jump, disc and javelin throws, and 200 and 1500 metre races.

Several moths after the Olympics, American champion and pentathlon gold medalist Jim Thorpe was accused of being a professional and stripped of all the medals that he had won in Stockholm. By default, Canadian Francis Lukeman thus became the pentathlon bronze medal winner. In 1982, Thorpe's medals were returned posthumously - medals that he had won seventy years earlier. Even so, the name of Francis Lukeman remains on the books of the International Olympic Committee as the bronze medal winner in the Stockholm pentathlon in 1912.

When Canada entered the war in 1914, Lukeman was one of the first to enlist in the Canadian army. He was wounded and gassed twice during the conflict that ended his athletic career.

In March 1945, his leg was amputated, and the former sprinter passed away on 26 Dec 1946 while bedridden at the military hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.