Wednesday, 02 April 2014 20:00

Anne Heggtveit

Anne won Canada's first Olympic skiing gold medal.

She won the slalom event at the 1960 event in Squaw Valley, California.

Her victory in the Olympic slalom event also made her the first non-European to win the International Ski Federation slalom and overall world championship. She was the first North American to win the Arlberg-Kandahar Trophy, the most prestigious and classic event in alpine skiing.

In her native Canada, her performance on the world stage was recognized when she was made a member of the Order of Canada, her country's highest civilian honor. In addition, she was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding athlete of 1960.Heggtveit was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1960. She was voted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1971 and in 1982 was among the first group inducted into the new Canadian Ski Hall of Fame.

Anne was born in Ottawa, January 11th, 1939. Her father, Halvor Heggtveit, a Canadian cross-country champion, encouraged her at a young age. In 1954, at the age of 15, she first gained international attention when she became the youngest winner ever of the Holmenkollen Giant Slalom event in Norway. She also won a first in slalom and giant slalom in the U. S. national junior championships. Although she suffered from several injuries between 1955 and 1957, she still earned a spot on Canada's team at age 17 at the '56 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

Heggtveit has a ski run named after her at the Camp Fortune Ski Resort just outside of Ottawa.

Published in 1995 Inductees
Monday, 31 March 2014 20:00

Kathy Kreiner

Kathy Kreiner stood at the mountain top of the ski hill and as she was about to make her way out of the starting gate, she said to herself, "They don't know it but I am going to win." And wouldn't you know it, Kreiner did win this giant slalom race – an upset of heavily favoured German Rosi Mittermaier – to capture gold at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. "I was feeling so confident, so focused," Kreiner recalled of the seconds she had to herself before the race. "It was my goal to win. I was the first competitor to start the race and they announced my name and I was motivated by that. "As I was going down, there were about 5,000 people along the slopes chanting, 'R-o-s-i, R-o-s-i.' I could hear that but I blocked it out. I said Rosi was not going to win. I had that sense of confidence."

About a week prior to heading to Innsbruck, Kreiner made the decision to travel to Germany to visit a friend, Thomas Vukovich, who coaxed her to open up and talk about her goals for the Olympics. "Our team wasn't enjoying a great season and we had low morale," Kreiner recollected. "I needed to refresh myself. I wanted to clear my head by going to Germany because 98 per cent of this is mental. Thomas asked me, 'Do you want to be eighth or first or what?' So after talking to him, I was anxious to put my plan into action. I had some of the fastest times in parts of some races that winter so it was not unrealistic to win at the Olympics."

At the age of 18, the Timmins native had become a national hero with her victory in Innsbruck in a time of 1:29.13. "When I finished, I knew I had a good run," Kreiner said. "It was the only gold Canada won at those Olympics so the television stations kept playing my win over and over again. I went home to Timmins for a few days after the Olympics and there were a few receptions and celebrations and then I had to go to Montreal for a news conference. As I went through the terminal at the airport in Toronto, somebody recognized me and started clapping for me and then most of the people in the airport were clapping for me. I had felt the impact my win had on the country."

Kreiner made her first visit to the podium in international racing in 1973 when she captured a bronze in Anchorage at the ripe young age of 15. A year later, she won gold at Pfronten, Germany. Then she captured two silvers in 1977 at Arusa, Switzerland and Sun Valley, Idaho, respectively and another silver in 1980 at Val D'Isere, France – this time in the downhill. She also won bronze medals in Garibaldi, France (1975) and Mont Ste. Anne, Que., (1976), which came not long after her success in Innsbruck.

Using her Olympic gold as inspiration, Kreiner is a motivational speaker and sports coach based in B.C., where she lives with her husband, Dave Phillips, and family.

Published in 2002 Inductees
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 20:00

Laurie Graham

Ski racer, born at Orangeville, Ontario. Graham started ski racing at age 9, and joined the National Ski team in 1978. In 1983, she won the first FIS World Cup race held in Canada, the Women’s Downhill at Mont Tremblant. In 1984, at Puy St-Vincent, France, she became the first Canadian to win a World Cup Super Giant Slalom race. In the 1985-86 season, she notched two more World Cup Downhill victories along with two second and three third place finishes; she retired after winning a total of 6 World Cup races.

Published in 2015 Inductees
Monday, 01 February 2016 00:00

Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke, born on September 3rd, 1982, grew up in Midland, Ontario. She was a true pioneer in freestyle skiing. In 2004, she lobbied ESPN to add a women’s division for freestyle skiing in the following Winter X Games. Her perseverance and passion led to ESPN adding a women’s division in the following year. She went on to win her first gold-medal at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Kuusamo, Finland. She went on to dominate the super pipe competition by winning gold medals at the 2007, ’08, ’09, ’11 (Aspen), and ’11 (Tignes). Off the slopes, her achievements led to accolades, including ESPN’s Award for Female Skier of the Year in 2001 and the ESPY Award for Best Female Actions Sports Athlete in 2007.

On January 19th, 2012, Sarah Burke passed away following a training incident in Park City, Utah. Sarah will always be remembered for the legacy she left behind for women in the world of freestyle skiing.

Sarah Burke

Published in Inductees
Monday, 31 March 2014 20:00

Steve Podborski

Pod grew up in the Toronto suburb of Don Mills on Foxden Road near Global TV, made the Craigleith Ski Club near Collingwood famous by training there and went on to become arguably Canada's finest male downhill skier.

Steve Podborski was the most successful member of the daredevil Krazy Kanucks team that challenged the world's best in the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s. He captured eight World Cup races and a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, thus becoming the first North American male to win an Olympic medal in the downhill. Two years later, his three downhill wins and consistent top placings enabled him to win the world downhill championship, the first time that a non-European had won this event. "It is hard to point at one thing as the highlight of my career as there were many different ways for a highlight to feel," Podborski told this writer. "The most satisfaction was the World Cup title. I missed it by a few points the year before and then in 1982 I went out and won it. It was not a surprise, but it was tough to do and satisfying to achieve. As I am the only North American male to do so I am still delighted with it." As Podborski kept reminiscing, he opened up to say that winning a race at the fabled Kitzbuhel course in Germany was a dream come true. Kitzbuhel is where he clinched the 1982 championship with a win.

"The biggest highlight in many ways was winning Kitzbuhel," he said. "Not only that, but no other non-European has won it more than once, and I was second twice, too. Crossing the line and looking back to see your name in first place in Kitzbuhel is the ultimate ski racing accomplishment. "The '82 season was at its peak in Kitzbuhel. I won the first training run by a mile and then fell in a fluky way in the last training run. There was no one who was going to beat me that day. It was the point when I was simply the best I could be and that was a great time to do it." But as much as the notoriety of a world championship was of more importance and meaning to Podborski, he thinks, though, that most people remember him most for his bronze-medal victory in smalltown New York, a race he didn't feel comfortable about when he finished the race. "The Olympic medal was great and to this day is the most recognized of my accomplishments outside the skiing fraternity," Podborski admitted. "I was the first North American male to win a downhill-skiing medal, and it was a tremendous step forward in my career. "The race run in Placid was not very good overall," he remembered. "I was late in a gate on the upper part of the course and nearly fell on the flats lower down on the course so I had low expectations as I crossed the finish line. I was pretty happy with the result, though! "I remember being on the podium (I almost missed the ceremony due to a mix-up) and being so blissfully happy that I really cannot remember much but being happy! I pretty much reached the maximum happiness possible for a human in that moment."

Podborski retired after the 1983-84 season but not before winning at another fabled course, Garnish-Partenkirchen. In all, he proudly mentions that he made it to the podium 20 times in his career and finished in the top ten 44 times out of 89 World Cup starts. "I was a fearless skier because I knew deep inside myself that I was going to make it," he said. "I trained very hard and skied a lot and worked on my gear and technique until I knew that I was going to not only make it, but be competitive every run."

These days, Podborski operates Pod Enterprises Ltd. in Whistler, B.C., where he lives with his wife Kathy and his two children and where he's aiding the Vancouver/Whistler committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Published in 2002 Inductees