If there is such a thing as a collective social memory then 1988 will undoubtedly feature prominently upon the historical sporting landscape of Canada. While there were a multitude of sporting moments, spectacles, and celebrities that defined the year, including the Calgary Winter Olympics, arguably the lives of two men came to symbolize what has been described as a crisis of national identity. 1 While their individual stories reveal much about their significance to Canada it was the context in which media images and narratives emerged that truly confirmed their place within the Canadian collective consciousness. We speak, of course, of the ‘Great One’, ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky and the ‘Nowhere Man’, track athlete Ben Johnson; 2 two very different athletes whose lives in 1988 and beyond provide key cases for an examination of the power and politics of national identity. In Canada in 1988 Wayne Gretzky and Ben Johnson represented episodes of pride and prejudice within an evolving national social memory.