At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, ice maker Trent Evans began a Canadian tradition that has perhaps led Canada to ever-increasing Olympic success in the following 16 years. Evans was contracted to lay the ice for the hockey rink at the Salt Lake City Olympics and embedded a “lucky loonie” at center ice. At those games, both the men’s and women’s Canadian hockey teams won gold, breaking a 50 year drought. The loonie was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (yes, seriously).
Since then, lucky loonies have been placed at both Winter and Summer Olympics by Canadians as good luck charms and little inside jokes. They’ve made appearances in beach volleyball courts, rowing waters, swimming pools (notably, the one in Rio where Penny Oleksiak won four medals) and lots of ice.
This year in PyeongChang, a faithful Canadian continued the tradition by placing a lucky loonie at the first-ever Olympic big air snowboarding event. It was Russell Reimer of Manifesto Sport Management’s loonie that was popped right into the center of the Olympic rings displayed on the snow ramp at the event. Canadian Sébastien Toutant then went on to win gold.
I made a $1 investment in @TeamCanada in #PyeongChang2018 and you won’t believe the return. It’s been 16 years since the “lucky loonie” was buried at centre ice in #SaltLake2002. The good-luck ritual continued at the Men’s Big Air. That’s my loonie. The result? Gold for Canada. pic.twitter.com/xupyotjL2h
— Russell Reimer (@Manifesto_Sport) February 25, 2018
“It’s definitely something cool to contribute to, this good luck ritual that Canada has created over the last 16 years,” Reimer told Your Morning.
“The moral of the story is, always carry a loonie with you if you’re going to go to a Canadian competition at the Olympics,” he continued, “I dug deep into my bag and literally sort of on the last gasp of the ten or so people that were there, I pulled out the only loonie that we seemed to have.” One of the coaches then took the opportunity to plant the loonie in the rings during a brief window in the big air warm-up runs.
Reimer says that the loonie is currently on it’s way back to Canada from PyeongChang with a load of snowboarding gear and will be presented to Sébastien Toutant as a memento from his gold medal win.
It’s unfortunate the Canadian hockey teams didn’t bring home the gold this year, but it’s good to know the luck of the loonie is still working.