Canada CAN


  • Games participations
  • First Olympic Games
    Los Angeles 1984
  • Year of Birth
Olympic Results



Silvia Ruegger became a pioneer for marathon running in Canada when she represented her nation at the very first women’s Olympic marathon at Los Angeles 1984, finishing eighth and setting a Canadian record. It was just her second marathon ever, and in a field where she was the second-youngest competitor at the age of 23. The following year she lowered the Canadian record with her 2:28:36 at the 1985 Houston Marathon, a mark she held for 28 years until it was broken in 2013. Two weeks after that record-setting performance in Houston, on January 25, 1985, Ruegger was in a car accident on a Canadian winter night which changed the course of her running career. The collision sent her through the front windshield of her car, landing 60 metres from the vehicle. Despite an onslaught on injuries, many due to the accident, Ruegger continued to run another 11 years, managed one 2:30 marathon, and finished first at the 1987 Pittsburgh Marathon. She retired from running just two months prior to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Inspired by watching the 1976 Olympic Games in Montréal on television, on September 11, 1976, Ruegger wrote on a piece of paper, “My Goal: To make it to the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and win for Canada” hiding the note in the old wooden floorboards of the farmhouse she grew up in.

A woman of unrelenting faith, Ruegger lived a life of inspiration specifically making an impact on children, inspiring millions of young runners, especially girls. She was the national director of “Start2Finish”, a program that connected at-risk youth with a reading and running program designed to help kids graduate and succeed. A native of Newtonville, Ontario, just east of Toronto, Ruegger was a graduate of Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph. When she was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2017, Ruegger faced it with grace, running and her merciless faith. She died at the age 58.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-28:36 (1985).

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Los Angeles 1984

Marathon Athletics