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Tanner Set To Auction Bygone Successes

May 16, 2011  - Craig Lord

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Canada: Elaine Tanner, called Mighty Mouse back home as the 5ft 3in girl who became Canada's first woman to win an Olympic swimming medal, is to host an online auction of a collection of her medals and memorabilia from her swimming legacy. The Vancouver native won four gold medals, three silver and set two world records at the 1966 Commonwealth Games, set two more world records at the 1967 Pan American Games and took two silvers and a bronze at the 1968 Olympic Games to become the first Canadian athlete to win three solo prizes at one Games. 

Missing gold took a toll, however, and at 17 after the Games in Mexico she retired. On a video on her website, Tanner says she's ready to move on to a new chapter of her life and that selling these memories will help her do that. "I've decided to let my collection go to the public to search for new homes," she says in the video. "So that they can maybe be symbols for other people - inspiration to chase their own dreams and to have their own goals and aspirations." Items in the upcoming auction starting May 23 include numerous medals, swimsuits worn at the different games, and an engraved Omega stopwatch used to record her times at the 1966 Commonwealth Games.

The British Colombia Sports Hall of Fame is not amused. Allison Mailer, director of operations, told Canadian media:  "Once it goes to different ownerships, these items might not be open to the public anymore. It is ultimately the athlete's choice, and I hope they do go to a good home and are well cared for. I really believe kids, especially in sports like swimming, when they see the bathing suits and medals, there's just a real connection and it inspires them." Easy solution for the Hall and those of similar mind: get your bid in.

The auction will be held on the website classicauctions.net; starting bids for the items will range from $150 and upwards. The proceeds of Tanner's achievements will, she says, allow her to focus on combining her experience in professional sports, kinesiology and holistic health. The money will also help her husband, John Watt, who is suffering health problems. Other proceeds will go to charities that work on mental health problems, homelessness, and animal rights.

Among items Tanner intends to keep for herself is a blue ribbon she won as a five-year-old aspiring swimmer. "When I look at [my medals], they're really just symbols of achievement, but they're not achievements themselves," she says. "Those achievements and experiences I had as an athlete will remain in my heart forever."

Europe: The 31st European Swimming Championships will take place in Antwerp (BEL) in 2012, the LEN Bureau decided in Reykjavik, Iceland, today. The Continental Championships in Swimming and Synchronised Swimming are scheduled for May 16‐27 before the London 2012 Olympic Games in July.

Monaco: James Magnussen (AUS), world No 1 over 100m free so far this year, and the entire Canada team have withdrawn from the Monte Carlo round of the Mare Nostrum tour, organisers have announced. Meanwhile, a minor operation on her right wrist will keep Libby Trickett (AUS) from competing on the Tour but she will race for a relay place at world titles after Australia changed its selection policy to provide the sprinter with a chance of racing on the biggest of occasions and give Australia a chance of having its best quartet on the blocks a year out from London 2012. Trickett announced her comeback last year, not long after having retired, but under anti-doping rules, swimmers must be available for testing for nine months before racing in any event that serves as a qualifier for FINA competition, including national championships and trials. They fell too early for Trickett this year but Leigh Nugent, Australia head coach, added Australia winter nationals to the mix as a potential selection event for Shanghai world titles  for those aiming to muscle into relays.

Britain: World champion and Olympic marathon silver medallist Keri-Anne Payne, of Stockport, won the British Gas Great Salford Swim in Manchester at the weekend. The 23-year-old, who last weekend booked her place in July's World Open Water Championships, held off Switzerland's Swann Oberson and Stockport training partner and Olympic bronze medallist Cassandra Patten to win over one mile in Salford Quays. "It was a good swim, a good performance and a good day for British swimming," Payne said. "I needed to just go out for it and it went quite well."

Australia: former Aussie great Susie O'Neill will compete in the Noosa Blue Water 2km Swim on Saturday May 21, as part of the Noosa Winter Festival. She will also join husband Cliff in the Noosa Century Cycle 160km event on Sunday. "I have really enjoyed getting fit and it's nice to have something to aim for," O'Neill, Olympic 200m butterfly (1996) and 200m freestyle (2000) champion, told Aussie media.