The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Barbara Wagner

Figure Skating


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Barbara Wagner, Bob Paul Recognized at Long Last

Saturday, February 6, 1960

Pair Shares Marsh Award

By Jim Proudfoot

Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul, Toronto figure skaters who have brought Canada three world championships in the past three seasons, have been awarded the Lou Marsh trophy as the nation’s outstanding athletes of 1959.

It’s the first time the prized Marsh trophy has been anything but an individual honour. However, as the selection committee explained today in announcing its decision: “These two are so outstanding they demand recognition and since they are equally deserving, it was decided to make a joint presentation.”

Both Barb and Bob will receive replicas of the famous trophy which was donated by Charles Ring in memory of the late Lou Marsh, former sports editor of The Star.

The Toronto youngsters were the unanimous choice of the Marsh selection committee.

Four Toronto sportsmen serve with Mr. Ring on the board. They are Oscar Pearson, Donald Ross, Charles Higginbotton and Harry “Red” Foster.

Receiving honourable mention in their 1959 deliberations were Bob Hayward, driver of the Canadian-owned boat, Miss Supertest, which won the Harmsworth international trophy last summer, golfer Stan Leonard, football star Russ Jackson, gymnastics champion Ernestine Russell and skier Anne Heggtveit.

Announcement of this long-overdue tribute comes two weeks before Barb and Bob close in on the goal at which their entire skating career has been pointed: the 1960 winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California.

That career began in 1952, when the two skaters were combined by the renowned coach, Sheldon Galbraith, who still works with them. Barbara was 13 and Bob 15 at the time.

Their first major success was in 1954, when they won the national junior pairs title. At that time, they were already playing second fiddle to another Galbraith production, the Frances Dafoe-Norris Bowden twosome.

Since Dafoe and Bowden retired following the 1956 Olympics, in which they were second and Barb and Bob were sixth, the Wagner-Paul duo has won everything in sight. That takes in the Canadian championships in 1956, ’57, ’58 and ’59, the North American title, which is competed for every two years, in ’57 and ’59 and the global crown in ’57, ’58 and ’59.

They currently are in Regina defending their national supremacy.

During and between competitions, Barb and Bob have served as first-rate good-will ambassadors for the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling club, for Toronto, for Ontario and for Canada. They have skated in six Canadian provinces, nine states of the U.S. and nine European countries during seven overseas trips. They have logged more than 70,000 miles of air travel.

Their immediate schedule calls for the Canadian championships, the Olympics, followed by the world tournament in Vancouver in early March. On March 19th, they leave for a tour of Germany.

Although no announcement has been made, it is known the young champions intend to retire at the conclusion of the present season. Barb plans a career in fashion design and illustration – her present hobby – while Bob will study political science and economics at the University of Toronto.

Photo caption: Barbara and Bob admire one of many trophies, Each Will Receive Replica of Marsh Trophy – First Time Award Has Gone to More Than One Person; Marsh trophy board of judges Ring, Foster, Pearson, Higginbotton, Ross