Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Famous footwear featured in museum display

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TORONTO -- Whether winter athletes are putting their best feet forward gliding across the rink or swishing down the slopes, the right equipment is often as key to powering their performance as their own skills and ability.

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Italian ski legend Alberto Tomba, Olympic gold medallist speedskater Gaetan Boucher and figure skating champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier are among the notable names whose footwear is featured in a new exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum celebrating important milestones in winter sports.

Bound for Glory: Cutting-Edge Winter Sports Footwear, which opened Wednesday, showcases some 50 artifacts and is divided into three categories -- snow, ice and track -- and includes all major competitive winter sports, such as hockey, skiing, speedskating, figure skating, curling, luge, bobsleigh and skeleton.

The exhibit features footwear donned by Canadians in gold-medal victories at the Olympics, including the skates worn by Sale and Pelletier in Salt Lake City in 2002, and shoes skeleton athlete Duff Gibson wore at the 2006 Games in Turin.

Museum curator Elizabeth Semmelhack said the idea for the exhibition came in part from visitors who were interested in learning more about the evolution of sports footwear.

She said they decided to focus on elite winter athletics to see how footwear has changed from the first Winter Games in 1924 to present day and whether it impacted the athlete's ability to reach the top of the podium.

The exhibition will be on display until March 21, 2010.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2009 C2

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