Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sarah Burke: world class skier to be remembered forever

Hayden Smith
ThunderHawk Staff Writer

 

Sarah Burke, a Canadian skier, was a woman that had a huge impact on fellow competitors, friends, and family. Nine days before the 2012 Winter X Games, she passed away after an accident she had in a halfpipe in Park City, Utah.

According to ESPN, Burke was one of the world’s top free skiers; she won six X Games gold medals.  Also, she played a key role in the advancement on woman’s skiing halfpipe at the Olympics.

However, Sarah’s impact will not stop just because she is no longer living.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, skiers and snowboarders paid their respects to her and her family as they slowly slid to the base, each person holding a light.  

At night, with all lights off, this was an incredible sight to see.  As her family and all of the viewers (live and on television) began to see how significant a person Sarah was.

A few local students from Hamilton were touched by this event.

“They lost a leader who gave a lot to the X Games and the skiing community,” sophomore Trey DeVries said.

DeVries saw Burke as an amazing woman who was very inspiring.  He hopes to someday ski in Colorado because it’s a life-changing experience.

“I thought that it was cool that everyone involved in the X Games supported her family,” sophomore Blake DeWitt said.

Blake DeWitt, a talented skier can specifically related to Sarah’s family.  His cousin was involved in an accident and he got a concussion.  Although it’s not quite on the same spectrum, he understands how dangerous skiing can be.

When an accident such as this occurs, teammates and opponents take a step back and realize that this is a life-threatening hobby.

As athletes look back, they see that they are truly blessed.

“We all need to follow in Sarah’s footsteps,” Kaya Turski, who won the Women’s Slopestyle gold medal, said to an ESPN reporter.

Burke was in her niche on the slopes, and others saw this.  They loved presence on the mountain, her optimism and leadership.   They also honored Burke by wearing armbands or stickers with her name on them, or by speaking highly of her in interviews.

The Winter X Games family lost a leader and a courageous woman, but they have gained trust in each other like never before.  Burke, and her impact on the X Games, will be remembered forever.

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