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Introducing Ollie Johnson


Ollie Johnson was born in Oakville in 1892, his family having first come here in the 1850s on the underground railroad route from the United States, where slavery was still a factor.

Ollie Johnson was a track and baseball star throughout his school years in Oakville. He played for the senior baseball Oakville Oaks as a talented shortstop, and then joined the Cuban Giants, a Buffalo based black pro baseball club that toured North America.

Ollie joined the army during the First World War and went overseas with the 8th Canadian reserve battalion. During this time, he competed in the armed forces track competitions, setting a record of 10 seconds flat in the 100 yard dash and 24 seconds in 220 yards, to become the armed forces champion sprinter.

After the war, Ollie represented Canada at the British Empire Games in London, England as well as the Inter-Allied Games in Paris. At these games, Ollie anchored the Canadian 880 yard relay team to first place in world record time.

Ollie Johnson was denied the opportunity to participate in the 1920 Olympics by a silly technical ruling regarding his amateur status.

Back home in Oakville, Ollie continued his sports activities with many more track victories, including the first gold medal of the Coliseum Games at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

As well, he continued his baseball career by playing with many championship teams in the 1920s.

After retiring as a competitor, Ollie coached other Oakville athletes of Olympic calibre, such as Pete Sutton and Pete 'Cyclone' Taylor. He also maintained his interest in baseball by managing many championship teams.

After his death in 1977, the Halton County senior baseball league, named its premier division, the 'Ollie Johnson Division'.


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Ollie Johnson
Baseball / Track & Field

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