When it comes to sports, Montréal is a world-class champion, taking first place on the winner’s podium for hosting sporting events both major league and unique. One look at the streets full of cyclists, pathways packed with joggers and parks busy with tennis, boating, baseball and soccer games, it’s easy to feel the big part sports play in the city’s DNA. Here’s a look back at some of the most iconic sporting moments in Montréal – and trust us, there’s sure to be more where these came from.
Denis Shapovalov’s surprise win at the Rogers Cup
In 2017, 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov beat world no. 1 Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup, stunning tennis fans the world over. It’s safe to say Nadal was stunned too.
Gilles Villeneuve takes the trophy
In his first Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada in 1978, local hero Gilles Villeneuve pulled ahead of the pack on the new Circuit Île Notre-Dame (since re-named the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve), beating the previous Canadian record of a 10th place by George Eaton 8 years previously. Vroom!
Nadia Comăneci’s perfect 10s
There’s plenty of iconic moments (not to mention architectural wonders) from the 1976 Montréal Summer Olympic Games, but none so dear in the hearts of sports fans as Romanian Nadia Comăneci’s gasp-worthy perfect 10s.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s hometown walk-off homerun
Talk about full circle. Montréal hero Vladimir Guerrero was a star player on the city’s Expos baseball team (1996-2003), and his son Vladimir Guerrero Jr pulled off a walk-off homer doing both his dad – and hometown – proud.
Woody gets wet
At the 2007 Presidents Cup at the Royal Montréal Golf Club, golfer Woody “Aquaman” Austin proved the adage that winners never quit – even when they fall face-first into the water.
Charles Hamelin’s crowning achievement
After postponing retirement for one more year, Montréaler Charles Hamelin sped to victory as the overall world champion in short track speedskating at the Maurice Richard Arena in front of an ecstatic hometown crowd. If that’s not going out on a high note, we don’t know what is.
Yoland Cabot’s one heck of a catch!
Setting the crowd wild, Yoland Cabot of the AUDL’s Montréal Royal ultimate Frisbee team, pulled off a killer catch with style, at a home opener no less.
The return of Saku Koivu
In one of the most moving sports moments in the history of Montréal, the city rose to its feet in a nine-minute standing ovation for the return of the Montréal Canadiens team captain Saku Koivu after missing 79 games during treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. That night grew sweeter as Koivu led the Canadiens to victory – grabbing their first spot in the playoffs in four years.
Montréal bids adieu to the Expos
After almost 3,000 games and a 36-year history in Montréal, the Expos played their final game at the Olympic Stadium. A sad day for sports lovers, but in jerseys, caps and other memorabilia, the team lives on in the city’s hearts.
Nathan Zsombor-Murray’s golden birthday
Taking home the gold in synchronized diving at the 2018 FINA Diving World Series alongside his partner Meaghan Benfeito, Nathan Zsombor-Murray not only marked his 15th birthday in home waters, but staked a claim on 2020 Olympic gold in Tokyo. Now that’s a lot to celebrate.
The Outgames come out in Montréal
In front of thousands of LGBTQ+ athletes and 40,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium, the first World Outgames opening ceremonies kicked off with performances from k.d. lang, Cirque du Soleil and the legendary Martha Wash on July 26, 2006. Equal sports and party, it was a night to remember!
Maurice Richard says goodbye to the Montréal Forum
The true definition of a local legend, the Montréal Canadiens’ Maurice “Rocket” Richard received a moving seven-minute standing ovation, marking the last game at the Montréal Forum – itself home to 24 Stanley Cup championships. You might want to have a tissue close at hand for this one.
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