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« Toronto composer John Weinzweig, a 1948 Olympic silver medalist who did not look the part, had a small joke for people who asked if it was true that he’d won such a thing.

“Yes,” he would say. “I ran the 100-yard dash with a piano on my back.”His son Daniel mused recently that it’s a strange thing to grasp, this idea of a composer winning an Olympic medal — not with muscular thighs and broad shoulders, but with symbols printed on sheets, poured from an inventive brain.

“People didn’t understand you could win an Olympic medal for music. How was that even possible?” Daniel Weinzweig said wryly.

But it was, indeed, possible. Daniel has the medal in his home as a reminder of his dad, the Olympian.

Arts medals were awarded at the Olympics from 1912 to 1948 and Canadians won two of them. In 1932, Robert Tait McKenzie captured bronze in the Sculpturing, Medals and Reliefs competition with a medallion entitled ‘Shield of the Athletes.’ Then in 1948, Weinzweig earned his silver medal in Instrumental and Chamber Music with his piece ‘Divertimento No. 1.’

The arts were low-key Olympic events during most of their medal run, generating a fraction of the hype devoted to athletic exploits and failures… »