You may know already that on January 10 freeskier Sarah Burke had a freak accident training on the superpipe in Utah. However, this skiing legend deserves some positive thoughts—not just because she’s very good at what she does. She’s been making a very positive impact throughout her career.
Update: with great sadness on January 19th we have reported the passing of Sarah Burke.
My own story: I met Sarah six+ years ago skiing Squaw Valley. Everyone thought Sarah was a hottie. But I was amazed at how humble she was. I was much younger, had a skill level much lower than hers, but after we cheered her on while she was filming that day…she came and skied with us! Now for someone who reaches that level and popularity at such a young age, many athletes forget about the people around them. Although this seems like a simple story, it’s a huge reflection of her character.
In the last few years, Sarah has been lobbying hard to get skiing superpipe in the Olympics. Sarah Burke has been a front runner pushing the effort. What makes her unique is she is not only an awesome skier but also a female skier. Her attitude has kept the door open for the sport to keep growing and getting more women on the hill.
Sarah’s a very determined person, and there are a lot of female skiers that can take a page out of her book. From the beginning, she set the bar for motivation and setting big goals. Even though there hasn’t been an official Olympic event for her sport, she trains like it will be tomorrow. She’s gotten titles at almost every major event including the U.S. Open and FIS World Championships. And count the number of injuries she’s had—and recovered. That includes a torn MCL, a ripped meniscus (1 week after the MCL), and two broken thumbs!
It may not have occurred to you, but her attitude has kept skiing in a positive spotlight. She’s a free-spirited skier in a mountain environment that has weed and ski bums scaring the family-minded folk. But with Sarah Burke at the front line, you’ve got someone positive who can encourage more people to join the sport. The free spirit and laid atmosphere is not for everyone, but she keeps a positive image for freestyle skiing. She’s a big contribution to increased media coverage and ever-growing adoption of the sport. And let’s hope she gets a big credit for skiing superpipe added to the Olympics.
As of today I don’t know what will become of Sarah’s future. All we can do is show respect for her family, put her in our thoughts and prayers, and hope she recovers and continues to Sochi 2014. However, I hope this post is a great reminder that there’s a very positive person in Utah right now who deserves a lot of respect.
Image credit: Lifestyle.