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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

LAURIE GRAHAM

Inducted in 1993

Member Details

Date of Birth: March 30, 1960
Place of Birth: Orangeville, Ontario
Sport: Alpine Skiing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1980, 1984, 1988

Member, Canadian Olympic Team

1982

Downhill bronze medal, World Championships

1983

World Cup Downhill Title, Mont Tremblant, Quebec

1984-1985

World Cup Super G Title, Puys St. Vincent, France

World Cup Downhill Title, Banff, Alberta

1985-1986

World Cup Downhill Title, Val d'Isere, France

World Cup Downhill Title, Crans Montana, Switzerland

1986-1987

World Cup Downhill Title, Val d'Isere, France

1991

Inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame

1988

Order of Canada

Honoured Member LAURIE GRAHAM
Inspire

Story

Laurie Graham, queen of the ski hill, dominated the international women's racing scene during much of the 1980s. She began her ski racing career as a nine year old 'ski flea' at Osler Bluff Ski Club in Collingwood, Ontario. Active in many sports as a child, she decided to concentrate on skiing and worked her way onto the provincial team, the national development squad, and, ultimately, the National Ski Team in 1977. In 1979, Graham placed third in a World Cup downhill event at Val D'Isere, France. An injury kept her out of most of the 1980-81 season but she returned the following year to claim the downhill bronze medal at the world championships in Schladming, Austria. In the last race of the 1982-83 season, Graham won her first World Cup event on a fast, icy course at Mont Tremblant, Quebec. This marked the first time a women's World Cup downhill event was held on Canadian soil. In January 1984, she became the first North American woman to win a World Cup super giant slalom (Super G) race in Puys St. Vincent, France. This victory, however, came as a surprise both to Graham and to all those present. By the time the young Canadian skier began the race at the 21st starting position, it was widely thought that no competitor would be able to match the time already set by Switzerland's Michela Figini. In fact, the Swiss skier was already being swamped by the media when Graham flashed across the finish line to win by a quarter of a second. With this triumph, Graham joined Nancy Greene and Betsy Clifford as the only Canadians to score victories in two World Cup disciplines. At a World Cup meet in Banff, Alberta, in March 1985, Graham started 20th but jumped and tucked her way down the short but bumpy course to victory in 1:19.50. This win capped a successful season in which she ranked 4th overall in World Cup downhill competition. In the 1985-86 season, her most successful, Graham recorded two World Cup downhill victories-Val D'Isere, France, and Crans Montana, Switzerland. She also had two second and three third-place finishes in other World Cup downhill events. Graham was in contention for first place in the downhill standings for most of the season until a fall during a race in Banff forced her to settle for third. Graham opened the 1986-87 season with another win, again at Val D'Isere. She also placed second at the World Cup downhills at Mt. Allan, Alberta, and Vail, Colorado. She was voted female athlete of the year by the Canadian Press in 1986. The winner of six World Cup races and the most downhill wins (five) by any Canadian woman, Canada's premier female ski racer retired following the 1988 season, thus ending a superb eleven-year career on the World Cup circuit. For representing her nation so brilliantly on the slopes, Graham was named to the Order of Canada in 1988.


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