On Thursday, I was saddened to learn of the death of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke. I’d been following the story closely since news of her training accident in Utah on Jan. 10. While I don’t regularly follow skiing and had honestly never heard of her, something about her story struck a chord with me. Amidst the news reports I heard her described as a pioneer, role model, athlete, and all around amazing person. I learned that she was a world class athlete who was famous in the skiing world for her ability and skill in the women’s skiing superpipe. She helped get women accepted into the once male dominated sport, and was a key force behind getting superpipe skiing into the Olympics (debuting in Sochi in 2014). In hearing excerpts of her interviews on t.v. and on the radio, and seeing her many YouTube clips, I could tell that she was bubbly and approachable. It seems to me that she loved her sport, and that she loved life.
In this excerpt from the Ski Channel’s “Winter” you can see the love that she and her husband skier Rory Bushfield had for the sport and for each other.
At 29, Sarah was the same age as me. She was also married a month after me. I can’t even begin to imagine what her family is going through. Her family set up a website to help pay for her medical bills. Given the support they’ve received, they are now able to pay the bills and any other funds raised will go to memorial costs and to establish a foundation to honour Sarah’s legacy. Donations can be made here.
I feel truly inspired by Sarah Burke, not just by her athletic ability but by how much she seemed to love life, and lived life to the fullest. Thank you Sarah.