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Friday, January 20, 2012

Loss of a Friend - Sarah Burke



I meet Sarah a number of years ago when I was still competing, then a few weeks ago I heard of the tragic accident which happened to her in training. Then yesterday; I hear of her death. Sarah was dedicated seeing her sport in the Olympics and in Sochi she will be the umpire and top athlete watching her dream come true. She is a GOLD medal performer!


Background:

Burke's love of freestyle skiing started early. As a teenage moguls skier in Midland, Ont., she'd often sneak onto snowboard halfpipes for the last runs of the day.
"We did it on the last run so that if we got our tickets pulled we wouldn't be too bummed," she once told ESPN.

Burke went from an unwanted pest on the halfpipe to one of its biggest stars and advocates, winning Winter X Games gold medals and lobbying for the sport's inclusion in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Burke, who lived in Whistler, B.C., will go down as one of the legends of her sport.
Born in Barrie, Ont., and raised in Midland, Burke got her start skiing with her family when she was five years old. She took up moguls skiing and competed for Team Ontario before switching to freestyle and winning the halfpipe competition at the 2001 U.S. Open of Freeskiing.
"Sarah was a person who I think in many ways was larger than life and lived life to the fullest. She was a phenomenal representative of her sport and of young people, and of sport in general, and her participation in what she chose to do transcended that sport and went into a larger realm ..." said Judge.
Burke won four gold medals in superpipe at the Winter X Games and an additional gold in the event at the Winter X Games Europe, having swept both competitions in 2011. She was the early favourite for the event's Olympic debut.

She also won the 2005 world championships, was the first woman to land a 1080-degree spin (three full rotations) in competition and won the 2007 ESPY award as Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
Along with her accomplishments on the slopes, Burke will also be remembered for her fierce advocacy for halfpipe skiing's addition to the Olympics.

"She's been a pioneer," said Judge. "She was really one of the people that started out and led the sport in its very infancy and she rose to prominence very quickly and continued to ride that wave from the standpoint of trying to push the boundaries of the sport."

Longtime friend and Canadian Ski Cross champion Aleisha Cline told CBC News the tragic news of Burke's death caught her off guard.

"It's an absolute shock, I mean, you hear people that get injured and when I heard that she initially had got injured I just figured it was serious but she's a strong girl, she'll pull through ... it's quite a shock," she said.

Cline, who trained with Burke in Squamish, B.C., said Burke changed women's skiing.

"To lose somebody who has made such an impact and continuing to really, really make an impact in the skiing community for women and for girls ... it's definitely going to be a loss for Squamish and obviously the whole skiing community," she said. "Sarah was no stranger to winning and she was the first woman ever to jump a 1080 in a competition and land it, that's amazing."

1 comment:

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