Michelle Cameron (CAN)
Honor Synchronized / Artistic Swimmer (2000)
FOR THE RECORD: 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (duet); 1986 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (duet, team); 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: silver (team).
Coach Debbie Muir knew exactly what she was doing when she paired Hall of Fame Honoree Carolyn Waldo with this upcoming star just after the 1984 Olympic Games. Waldo had just won the Olympic synchronized swimming solo silver medal in Los Angeles. The young rising partner-to-be had been on the National Team only three years, but the union was to be the best match of the era. Waldo and her new partner, Michelle Cameron, never lost a major international event for the next four years, an Olympic quadrennium.
Michelle started as a youngster extremely fearful of the water, failing her first swimming level four times. From a family of 10 children (5 girls, 5 boys), she learned to survive and by the time she was 13 years old, she started synchronized swimming in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta. Michelle Caulkins became her first coach, but in 1981 Debbie Muir became her mentor at the Calgary Aquabelles Club. After teaming up with Carolyn Waldo in late 1984, Michelle never looked back.
The duet of Cameron and Waldo won every major duet international competition they entered: 1985 Rome and Spanish Opens, 1985 FINA World Cup, 1986 Spanish Open, 1986 Commonwealth Games, 1986 World Championships, 1987 Pan Pacific Championships and the 1987 FINA World Cup.
The 1988 Olympic Games at Seoul were the highlight of her career. Michelle and Carolyn swam to the music of “Spartacus” for their Olympic duet. With their dramatic, technically difficult beginning, slow artistic middle and fast-paced, catchy ending, they beat the USA’s Josephson twins by .433 points to win the gold medal. For Michelle it capped a 13 year career which saw her win 8 national titles in duet and team.
Known as “Mick” or “Mish” by her friends and family, Michelle is known for her adventurousness and spontaneity. In duet synchronized swimming where athletes must synchronize their movements, perform with technical accuracy and be artistic in their approach, they must be equal in performance and ability. Cameron and Waldo were equals when they won their Olympic gold medals and international competitions That’s why they’re Hall of Famer Honorees.
After retirement from competition, Michelle participated in many causes and charities. In 1996, she continued in the Olympic spirit as Canada’s Athlete Services Officer at the Atlanta Games. She has been involved with Special Olympics, children’s charities, drug awareness programs and missions of preventative health and nutritional support to children in need all over the world. She has been on the Board of Directors for Rogers Broadcasting, the Canadian Coaching Association, the Canadian Sports Council, the Canadian Athletes Association and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. As a performance development and motivational speaker, Michelle and her husband, Alan Coulter (two-time Olympic volleyball team member and captain) raise three children. One of her most prestigious awards has been the Order of Canada presented in 1989.