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Toller Cranston dead at 65...


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Legendary Canadian figure skater Toller Cranston dies from apparent heart attack
By The Canadian Press 37 minutes ago

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STOCK Photo of Toller Cranston and city hall taken by Fred Ross in February 1973.

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico - Canadian figure skating has lost one of its legends.

Toller Cranston, a bronze medallist at the 1974 world championships and 1976 Olympics, died at his home in Mexico from an apparent heart attack, a Skate Canada spokesperson said Saturday. He was 65.

Cranston, a six-time Canadian senior men's champion, was known for his dramatic showmanship on the ice. While he never won an Olympic or world title, his unique artistic vision forever changed the sport.

Cranston was born in Hamilton, grew up in Kirkland Lake, Ont., and Montreal before settling in Mexico once his skating days were done.

He was also an avid artist and his work was exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.

Cranston won national titles from 1971 to '76 and placed second at the 1971 North American championships in Peterborough, Ont. He won Skate Canada International events in 1973 and '75.

He finished fourth at the 1975 world championships in Colorado Springs, and was fourth again a year later in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Cranston was 26 when he reached the Olympic podium at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck.

He was later inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977.

In 1995, he received a Special Olympic Order from the Canadian Olympic Committee. Cranston was also an illustrator, author, designer, choreographer and sports commentator.

Autopsy results were pending. There was no immediate word on funeral plans.

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This guy was so far ahead of those skating judges that they didn't know how to score his performances. Truly was one of Canada's greats and one who was never shy to say what was on his mind. That might have been his downfall in the sport of skating.

I remember seeing him skate as a kid. My mom who was a judge would say much the same thing.

Even later in his career, when more skaters were copying his style, he still couldn't win the big one. In those days, part of the competition was compulsory figures, which he never excelled at. He would dominate free skates, but always seemed to be coming from too far behind to win gold.

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