So I better hold on

Does anyone else remember the Canada Fitness Award badges? An annual testament to my lack of athleticism. The standards were tough, with the best of the best receiving the Award of Excellence*. It may have come with a letter from the Prime Minister. I wouldn’t know. The not so excellent were awarded a gold, silver, or bronze badge.

Pictured: gold and silver (not from my personal collection of bronze badges).

Oh yeah, I’m the proud recipient of several bronze badges. I’m not sure if there was anything below bronze, like a ‘thanks for participating’ ribbon. Probably not, or that’s what they would have given me. I vaguely – and perhaps inaccurately – recall the six tests included some torturous combination of push-ups, sit-ups, a shuttle run, an endurance run, jumping, and I think it included the famous flexed arm hang. According to PHE Canada,

1970: Fitness and Amateur Sport launched the Canada Fitness Award Program. By 1986, more than 16 million Canadian children participated in the CFA program and over 12 million awards were given out. The program was discontinued in 1992 because it was viewed as “discouraging to those who needed the most encouragement”.

Hilariously, I tried the hang with a couple of friends tonight. Confirmed: I’m still hopeless at flexed arm hanging. Now I want to find the test requirements, to see how I measure up to the excellence/gold/silver/bronze standards for a 10 year old girl. I am sure to be humiliated. Who’s in?

*Who needs to earn one … you can buy it on eBay for $80.

Title: Green Day – Basket Case. 1994.

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17 responses to “So I better hold on

  1. We still have that shit in the US. (https://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/physical/index.shtml) And we’re the fattest country on Earth.

    Anyhow, I sucked at the arm hang but I sucked at the STRECH more. And I’m still hopelessly inflexible. Though somehow I scored a couple patches.

    • Ugh, that pointless sit and reach stretch. I don’t think it was part of our testing, but I remember the ruler to see how far past our toes we could go. Totally biased to the short-legged long-armed child.

  2. Ohhhhh, the flexed arm hang. I found a slew of Excellence and Gold badges in a store on Queen St about 5 years ago so I bought them and ironed them down the front of a (now retired) hoodie in an overlapping stream. Few people knew what they meant, but those who did were an even mixture of befuddled and/or quietly reverent.

  3. I never was good at meeting any of those tests except the flexibilty one. I seem to remember Arnold Schwarzanegger being a celebrity ambassadort for President’s Challenge.

  4. runningintoronto

    Ugh…..I remember those tests. They were slightly tortuous. Do you remember the “beep test” in high school? MUCH better….Basically all you had to do was keep running!:)

  5. I still remember climbing out of the bronze category and got silver one year…you’d think I had won the lottery.
    Wasn’t the jumping like a split jump/touch your toes kind of thing? Like a sideways cheerleader herkie?

  6. That would be interesting to attempt now- I had totally forgotten about those badges – probably for good reason.

  7. Hahahaha. I love your humor in this.

  8. Pingback: Do it for your muscles it’ll make them hustle | My Running Shorts

  9. Here’s my Award of Excellence from around 1977.

    Canada Fitness Award of Excellence

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