Sarah Burke inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame

Comments by Donny O'Neill/

Yesterday, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2014. One of the inductees was the late Sarah Burke, who was one of the biggest influencers in freeskiing’s inclusion in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and was also a pioneer in the development of women’s freeskiing as a whole.

“Sarah was truly a legendary athlete and role model. She continues to be an inspiration to us all,” says Sue Eckersley, Executive Director at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, who nominated Burke for the distinction. “Sarah wasn’t only a pioneer of women’s skiing, she was a pioneer within the industry at large. She used to compete with the guys… we created a women’s category at WSSF because of Sarah.”

Press Release, Whistler, British Columbia, April 23, 2014:

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame today announced the Class of 2014. Among the athletes announced and recognized with Canada’s highest sporting honour was the late Sarah Burke, a pioneer in competitive women’s freestyle skiing, particularly the women’s superpipe event.

Sarah Burke was a regular competitor at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC and loved participating in events at her home mountain. Burke led the charge to incorporate a Women’s Superpipe event into WSSF’s World Skiing Invitational (WSI) and was the 2007 gold medalist at the WSI, Whistler halfpipe.

“Sarah was truly a legendary athlete and role model. She continues to be an inspiration to us all,” says Sue Eckersley, Executive Director at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, who nominated Burke for the distinction. “Sarah wasn’t only a pioneer of women’s skiing, she was a pioneer within the industry at large. She used to compete with the guys… we created a women’s category at WSSF because of Sarah.”

Burke was instrumental in the fight to include Women’s Superpipe in the Winter Olympic Games. In competition, she was the FIS Freestyle World Ski Champion – halfpipe in 2005, a four-time gold medalist at the Winter X Games, a gold medalist at the Nippon Open Slopestyle in 2007 and the 2007 gold medalist at the WSI halfpipe in Whistler. Burke was the first woman to land a 720, 900 and 1080 degree rotation in competition.