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Remembering Canada’s greatest Olympic moments: Women make athletics debut in 1928

We're recapping memorable moments in Canada's Olympic history ahead of Rio. The first: Canadian women dominated at the 1928 Olympics.

1928 Olympics
1928 Olympics
Canada’s 4x100m relay team that won gold in Amsterdam. Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee.

The Summer Olympics in Rio are now only 10 days away. In the leadup to the Games, Canadian Running will be honouring 10 significant running moments in Canada’s Olympic history. In our first installment, we look back to Canadian women winning four of a possible 15 medals in athletics at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

RELATED: Interactive map: The hometown of every runner on Canada’s Olympic team.

Duration: May 17 to Aug. 12.

The Amsterdam Games marked the first time in history that women were allowed to compete in track and field. Canadian women won three of a possible nine medals in running events and added a fourth in high jump.

In the women’s 100m, Canada won silver and bronze thanks to performances by Bobbie Rosenfeld and Ethel Smith. The women’s 100m champion, American Betty Robinson, was just 16 at the time.

RELATED: Complete list of runners on Canada’s Olympic track team.

Myrtle Cook, Smith, Rosenfeld and Jane Bell won gold in the women’s 4 x 100m relay. Ethel Catherwood won a gold medal in the women’s high jump.

The 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam marked the first time that the Olympic flame was on display at the stadium. There were just seven women on Canada’s 92-person roster though they accounted for much of the country’s medal haul. Percy Williams, one of Canada’s all-time great sprinters, won two gold medals in men’s events and will be profiled later this week.

The only women’s distance event was the 800m at the 1928 Olympics. But between 1928 and 1960, women were not permitted to contest distances longer than 200m.

Canada was the only nation to win more than one gold medal in women’s athletics events at the 1928 Games. It was the first time that the original host nation, Greece, led the march into the opening ceremony. Athletics took place on a 400m track, which became a standard for the sport.

The opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics takes place on Aug. 5.