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Anne Heggtveit shows her skiing gold medal in slalom won in Squaw Valley
January 11, 1939 |
Her father, Halvor Heggtveit, a Canadian cross-country champion, encouraged her at a young age. A student at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, she learned to ski in the nearby Gatineau Hills of Quebec. 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 United States 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 1956 Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
At a time when Europeans dominated alpine skiing, Heggtveit was inspired by the breakthrough performance of countrywoman Lucille Wheeler who had won both the downhill and giant slalom events at the 1958 World Championships. At the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, California, Heggtveit won Canada's first-ever Olympic skiing gold medal. 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.
Heggtveit has a road named after her at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort in the Town of the Blue Mountains, Ontario. As well, she has a ski run named after her at the Camp Fortune Ski Resort just outside of Ottawa.
Barbara Wagner & Bob Paul
|Lou Marsh Trophy winner