Eva Dawes Spinks (1912–2009) was an outstanding Canadian high jumper in the 1930s. The present paper traces her early life, successful athletic career, and her decision in 1935 to join a group of athletes on a goodwill tour of the Soviet Union organized by the Workers’ Sports Association of Canada. Upon her return, Dawes was suspended by the Women’s Amateur Athletic Union of Canada. She retired from competition and became involved in the Canadian campaign to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Much later, Dawes adamantly denied any political involvement. The purpose of this paper is to examine and possibly explain the incongruity between the historical evidence and Dawes’s later denials. More broadly, it is a discussion about the relationship between history and individual memory.
Hall is with the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Kidd is with the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.