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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Petra Burka
Petra Burka 1965.jpg
Petra Burka in 1965
Personal information
Country representedCanada
Born (1946-11-17) November 17, 1946 (age 74)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Height1.53 m (5 ft 0 in)
Former coachEllen Burka
Skating clubToronto Skating Club
Medal record

Petra Burka (/ˈptrəˈbɜːrkə/; born November 17, 1946) is a Canadian former competitive figure skater and now coach. She won the 1964 Olympic bronze medal in women's figure skating and the 1965 World championship in the sport.

Personal life

Petra Burka was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands on November 17, 1946,[1] the daughter of figure skating coach Ellen Burka and a Czech-born artist, Jan Burka.[2] The family moved to Canada in 1951.[1] Her parents divorced in the mid-1950s.[3] Raised as Christians, Petra and her sister, Astra, were in their late teens when their mother told them about her background as a Holocaust survivor.[2]


Petra Burka in 1965
Petra Burka in 1965

Petra Burka began skating lessons at the age of 10 or 11.[4] Her mother, also her coach, was advised by Osborne Colson of her talent.[4]

At the 1962 Canadian Championships, Burka became the first woman to land a triple Salchow and came away with the silver medal.[4] She finished 4th in her World Championship debut in Prague in the same year.[5] The father of one of Ellen Burka's students, Stafford Smythe, arranged for Petra – who was in need of extra ice time – to train at Maple Leaf Gardens at 7 a.m. every day before the hockey players arrived at 9:30.[4]

Burka won the first of her three consecutive senior national titles in 1964 and represented Canada at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, winning the bronze medal.[6] Unaware that she was expected to skate an exhibition, she was brought back to the rink in a police car just before she was called onto the ice.[4] Burka became the first Canadian skater to perform in the Soviet Union when she appeared in a two-week tour in Moscow and Kiev.[4]

Burka won bronze at the 1964 World Championships in Dortmund. She was the gold medalist at the 1965 World Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, becoming the first Canadian woman to win Worlds since Barbara Ann Scott in 1947. At the event, she also became the first woman to complete the triple Salchow at a World Championships.[5]

Her other achievements were winning Canada's Outstanding Athlete of the Year in 1964 and twice winning Canada's Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year in 1964 and 1965. In 1965 she was also inducted to the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.[6]

Burka took bronze at the 1966 World Championships and retired from competition. She signed with Holiday On Ice,[7] skating with the tour until 1969.[8] Burka then took on coaching as well as being a commentator on figure skating events for CBC and CBS for Olympic, World, European and Canadian championships.

Petra Burka was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.[9]


Event 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966
Winter Olympics 3rd
World Championships 4th 5th 3rd 1st 3rd
North American Champ. 2nd 1st
Canadian Championships 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st

See also


  1. ^ a b "Elected Members: Petra Burka". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Famed coach skated under the radar of anti-Semitism". Jewish Tribune. November 25, 2008. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Fitz-Gerald, Sean (October 15, 2013). "'A legend': Meet the Canadian figure skating coach who survived the Holocaust, revolutionized her sport and still works at 92". National Post. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Where are They Now: Petra Burka". The Globe and Mail. May 18, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "1997 Skate Canada Hall of Fame Induction Gala". Skate Canada. January 1998. Archived from the original on August 21, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Petra Burka". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 2020-04-18.
  7. ^ "Newsmakers". Skating magazine. June 1966.
  8. ^ "Petra Burka". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Petra Burka". Retrieved 23 September 2014.
This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 23:57
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