UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Sandra Hartley Cousins

Sandra Hartley Cousins

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  • Induction
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Dominated university gymnastics from 1966 until 1970. Led UBC to four Western Canadian titles and one Canadian university championship while four times selected individual champion. While at UBC represented Canada at North American and World championships and was 1968 Olympian.

Sandi Hartley entered UBC in 1966 having graduated from North Vancouver's Delbrook High School where she had been an outstanding gymnast. During her first year at UBC she was one of two women from the Thunderbird gymnastic team to compete for Canada's National team at the World Championships in Germany. She and teammate Leslie Bird were two of the six women chosen to represent Canada. Canada finished fifteenth in a field of 35 countries with Hartley finishing first among Canadian women.

In February 1967, UBC captured the Western Canada Intercollegiate women's gymnastic championship and it was due largely to its young National team member, Sandra Hartley. Later that year Hartley was a member of the Canadian team at the Pan American Games at Winnipeg, placing ninth in the Americas and second for Canada. The following school year, Sandi placed fifth in the North American Gymnastic Championships and first among the Canadians.

In 1968, the reigning Canadian gymnastic champion was selected to represent Canada at the 1968 Olympics at Mexico City. She was one of two female athletes from UBC, sprinter Ann Covell the other, to make the '68 Canadian Olympic team. To this day, Hartley is the only woman from UBC ever to compete in the Olympics in the sport of gymnastics.

In her third year of Physical Education in 1968/69, Hartley held the titles of BC Provincial gymnastic champion and Pacific Northwest champion. This year, at the Western Canada Intercollegiate championships, Sandra led UBC's women's team to first place and in the process, won the individual all-around trophy. According to the Ubyssey it was Hartley's domination of all four events - the uneven bars, vaulting, balance beam and free exercise - that enabled UBC to achieve the championship. Later in '69, this victorious UBC team went on to the Canadian University Championships in Hamilton, Ontario, where it proceeded to defeat the best university teams in the nation. Leading UBC to the national title, Hartley was declared individual all-around champion of this eight-school meet, distinguishing herself as the number one female gymnast among the universities of Canada. As it happened, lack of finances made money-raising projects a must in order to send this UBC team to the Nationals in Hamilton. The whole team spent a noon hour giving back rubs in the gym. After these championships, Hartley and teammate Leslie Bird were named to Canada's World Student Games team.

In February 1970, for the fourth consecutive time, Hartley led the school's women's gymnastic team to the Western Canadian Intercollegiate championship. Sandra won every event she entered and was awarded the Western Canadian individual all-around trophy - the third time she had achieved this honour. She once again won a berth on the Canadian team that would compete at the World Student Games later that year.

In March of 1970, Sandi was the first to be awarded the Sparling trophy (now the Marilyn Pomfret trophy) as UBC's outstanding female athlete of the year.

While at UBC, Sandra Hartley, who later had a distinguished teaching career at the University of Alberta, represented Canada at the Olympics, the Pan American Games, three times at the World Student Games and at both the World and North American gymnastic championships. She also led UBC to four Western Canada University titles, one Canadian University championship - at four of these events being declared individual all- around champion.

Researched and written by Fred Hume, UBC Athletics Historian