Ken Read

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Ken Read
— Alpine skier —
Disciplines Downhill, Combined
Born (1955-11-06) November 6, 1955 (age 58)
World Cup debut December 6, 1974, 1975 (age 19)
Retired March 1983 (age 27)
Olympics
Teams 2 – (1976, 1980)
Medals 0
World Championships
Teams 4 – (1976, '78, '80, '82)
    includes two Olympics
Medals 0
World Cup
Seasons 10 – (19741983)
Wins 5 – (5 DH)
Podiums 14 – (14 DH)
Overall titles 0 – (11th in 1978, 1980)
Discipline titles 0 – (2nd in DH, 1980)

Ken Read, CM BA (born November 6, 1955) is a retired World Cup alpine ski racer from Canada. A specialist in the downhill and a two-time Olympian,[1] he won five World Cup races during his ten-year international career.

Ski racing[edit]

Ken Read was a member of the Canadian alpine ski team from 1973 to 1983 and competed in two Olympic Winter Games. A life-long Calgary resident, Read was part "Crazy Canucks", the Canadian downhill team of the late 1970s and early 1980s, that consistently challenged the Europeans with a daring racing style.[2][3]

Read's first World Cup top ten finish came in January 1975 in a combined event at Kitzbühel. Later that calendar year, he became the first North American male to win a Downhill World Cup race, a downhill in Val-d'Isère, France on December 7, 1975.[4] Read went on to win four more World Cup downhill races and his point total for the 1980 season placed him second in the downhill final standings. He was the first non-European to win both the Austrian downhill Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel,[5][6] and the Swiss race Lauberhorn at Wengen.[7][8] These two victories complimented his 1978 win at Les Houches near Chamonix, France,[9] in the Arlberg-Kandahar, ski racing's oldest classic event. Another victory in January 1979 at Morzine was disallowed because of a non-conforming suit due to a manufacturing flaw.[10][11][12] His outstanding season in 1980 was marred by an unfortunate binding release, just fifteen seconds into the Olympic downhill.[13]

Honors[edit]

Read was named Canada's Athlete of the Year in 1978 (Lou Marsh Award) and Canadian Male Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1980. In 1991 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

After racing[edit]

Following his retirement from competition in 1983, Read became a broadcaster with CBC TV Sports and columnist. He also launched the "Breath of Life" Ski Challenge which over the next 23 years raised over $3.8 million for Cystic Fibrosis research. Two movies have been produced covering the careers of the Crazy Canucks: the documentary "The Dream Never Dies" (1980)[14] and a TV movie called "Crazy Canucks" (2004),[15] which is based on a novel he and Matthew Fisher wrote called "White Circus" (1987).

From June 2002 to July 2008 he served as President and CEO of Alpine Canada Alpin, the National Sport Organization for alpine skiing in Canada. Under his direction, the management team, coaches and athletes moved Canada's ranking on the FIS World Cup from 14th (2002) to 6th (2008), fully integrated the alpine skiing disabled program (Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team), which was ranked #1 in the world, secured the finances of the organization including a substantial reserve fund for future athlete development, created a long-range athlete development plan (Aim-2-Win) and published a long-range strategic plan. Over this six-year period, under his leadership Alpine Canada established three National Training Centres, worked closely with Winsport Canada to establish the first glacier training venue in North America (Camp Green at Farnham Glacier), established a snow testing lab, was a key leader within the group of sport leaders than established "Own the Podium" which enabled Canadian winter sport to take top spot (by gold medal ranking) at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, introduced the Long Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) and established numerous athlete development programs to create a high-performance stream for athletes at all levels.

After resigning from Alpine Canada in July 2008, he moved to the Alberta Alpine Ski Association to work with younger athletes and athlete development programs, between September 2008 and May 2010. In May 2010 Read was named Director, Winter Sport for Own The Podium (OTP), Canada's high performance program supporting athletes and National Sport Organizations in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, resigning in April 2013. In this period, Canadian winter sport moved into the #1 position in both gold medal and total medal count, topping out with 19 gold medals and 37 total medals in 2012 as ranked by World Championship results.

Read has been active within Canadian and international sport for over 40 years, initially as the founding Chair of the Canadian Olympic Association Athletes Council and subsequently member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes Commission (1985–1998). He served as Chef de Mission for the 1992 Canadian Team to Barcelona, where the Canadian Team won 18 medals including a record 7 gold medals. In 1988, Read was named to the International Ski Federation's (FIS) Alpine Committee Executive Board, overseeing the discipline of alpine skiing. More recently Read was named to lead the FIS Youth and Children's Coordination Group and Alpine Youth and Children's committee.

As of October 2006, Read is a co-owner of the Mount Norquay ski resort in Banff National Park.[16] and resides in Calgary with his wife Lynda (née Robbins, a former racer with Canadian Alpine Ski Team)[17] and three sons. He is an alumnus of the Ottawa Ski Club and Lake Louise Ski Club. The Read family are members of the Banff Alpine Racers, located at Banff Mount Norquay, Alberta.

Popular culture[edit]

  • In the 2006 episode of Corner Gas titled "Physical Credit", Oscar meets with Ken Read to try to persuade him to create an Olympic medal category higher than gold. Read responds that the other countries wouldn't agree to it. Oscar says the old Ken Read would have done it, the Crazy Canuck Ken Read. Read responds that he's not crazy anymore, with Oscar acknowledging it and then claiming that he is now useless.[18]

World Cup results[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
 Slalom 
Super G Downhill Combined
1975 19 49 not
run
24
1976 20 24 9 11
1977 21 58 not
awarded
1978 22 11 4
1979 23 22 4
1980 24 11 2
1981 25 38 12
1982 26 17 6
1983 27 23 w/ GS 8 26

Race podiums[edit]

  • 5 wins (5 DH)
  • 14 podiums (14 DH), 40 top tens (35 DH, 5 K)
Season Date Location Discipline Place
1976 7 Dec 1975 France Val-d'Isère, France Downhill 1st
1978 11 Feb 1978 France Les Houches, France Downhill 1st
1979 10 Dec 1978 Austria Schladming, Austria Downhill 1st
10 Dec 1978 Italy Val Gardena, Italy Downhill 3rd
14 Jan 1979  Switzerland  Crans-Montana, Switzerland   Downhill 3rd
1980 12 Jan 1980 Austria Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill 1st
18 Jan 1980  Switzerland  Wengen, Switzerland Downhill 1st
19 Jan 1980 Downhill 2nd
1981 7 Dec 1980 France Val-d'Isère, France Downhill 2nd
1982 21 Dec 1981  Switzerland  Crans-Montana, Switzerland Downhill 3rd
15 Jan 1982 Austria Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill 3rd
16 Jan 1982 Downhill 3rd
1983 10 Jan 1983 France Val-d'Isère, France Downhill 2nd
22 Jan 1983 Austria Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill 3rd
  • A victory in 1979 on January 6 was disallowed after a protest due to a nonconforming racing suit.[10][11][12]

World championship results[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
 Slalom 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1976 20 DNF1 DNF2 not run 5
1978 22 22
1980 24 DNF
1982 26 14

From 1948 through 1980, the Winter Olympics were also the World Championships for alpine skiing.

Olympic results Olympic rings with white rims.svg[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
 Slalom 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1976 20 DNF1 DNF2 not run 5 not run
1980 24 DNF

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Olympics". sports-reference. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Ballard, Sarah (January 27, 1988). "Wild and crazy guys". Sports Illustrated. 
  3. ^ Scammell, Ron (December 9, 1978). "The Kamikaze Canadians". Montreal Gazette. The Canadian (insert magazine). p. 10. 
  4. ^ "First Cup downhill to Canada". Montreal Gazette. Reuter-UPI. December 8, 1975. p. 39. 
  5. ^ "Read victorious on famed downhill course". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. January 14, 1980. p. 49. 
  6. ^ "honor roll - the champions, men, downhill". Kitzbüheler Ski Club. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Read smashes downhill record". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. January 19, 1980. p. 101. 
  8. ^ "Read comes within whisker of third straight downhill win". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. January 21, 1980. p. 32. 
  9. ^ "Read and Murray give Canada one-two placing in downhill race". Montreal Gazette. Reuter-UPI. February 13, 1978. p. 13. 
  10. ^ a b "Ken Read loses gold medal as ski controversy heats up". Ottawa Daily Citizen. Canadian Press. January 9, 1979. p. 17. 
  11. ^ a b "Illegal suit causes Read to lose win". Schenectady (NY) Gazette. Associated Press. January 9, 1979. p. 29. 
  12. ^ a b "For Ken Read, a speedy victory has its cost". CBC. digital archives. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ Cleary, Martin (February 15, 1980). "Mature Read will be back another day". Ottawa Citizen. p. 25. 
  14. ^ The Dream Never Dies at the Internet Movie Database
  15. ^ Crazy Canucks at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "Read's comeback plans scrapped". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. May 9, 1984. p. F-7. 
  18. ^ "Corner Gas" Physical Credit (2006) at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Guy Lafleur
(Tied with Graham Smith)
Lou Marsh Trophy winner

1978
Succeeded by
Sandra Post