EN | FR
Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

GERRY SORENSEN

Inducted in 1989

Member Details

Date of Birth: October 15, 1958
Place of Birth: Kimberley, British Columbia
Sport: Alpine Skiing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1981

First place, Downhill event, World Cup

1982

Back-to-back first places, Downhill events, World Cup

First place, World Alpine Downhill Championship

Bobbie Rosenfeld Trophy

1984

First place, Downhill event, World Cup

1988

Inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame

Honoured Member GERRY SORENSEN
Inspire

Story

Born in the mountain town of Kimberley, B.C., Gerry Sorensen did not begin to ski until she was ten years old. When she joined the National Ski Team in 1979 at the age of 21, many considered her too old to develop into a world class skier, but Sorensen proved them wrong when she became the first Canadian woman in more than a decade to win a World Cup downhill race. On February 8, 1981, Sorensen, starting from the 30th position on the Krummholz Hill in Haus, Austria, sped down the 2,590m course in 1:39.27, and beat the favoured Irene Epple of West Germany by .08 seconds. Her victory came as a surprise to many, including Epple, who had already posed for several victory shots before Sorensen's time was even clocked. No one guessed that this 22-year-old Canadian would be able to beat the best in the world in her very first season in World Cup competition. Many called her victory a fluke, but the following season at Grindenwald, Switzerland, Sorensen proved herself again. On one of the most grueling downhill courses on the circuit, Sorensen won with a time of 2:00.54. Incredibly, she won again the following day on the same icy course, beating her previous time by 40/100ths of a second. Such back-to-back victories within 24 hours had only happened twice before in women's World Cup history. In February 1982, Sorensen won the World Alpine Downhill Championship at Haus, an event independent from the World Cup circuit. It had been nearly a quarter of a century since a Canadian had topped this event, and Sorensen considered this victory to be the highlight of her career. Throughout the late 1970s and early '80s, the attention of the Canadian skiing world was pointed mainly toward the national men's team, the "Crazy Canucks" who had dominated world alpine skiing during these years. Sorensen's success diverted some of this attention to the Canadian women's team, reminding the nation that Canada's female skiers were still a presence to be respected. After a winless 1982-83 season, Sorensen returned to the podium in January 1984. A perfect run on a treacherous course at Puy St. Vincent, France, brought Sorensen her fourth World Cup victory in three years. Once again, the innate ability to focus completely on the task at hand and the goal ahead brought enormous success to this Canadian skier. For her tremendous success, the Canadian Press awarded her the Bobbie Rosenfeld Trophy as Canada's outstanding female athlete of 1982, and she received an honoured place in the Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame in 1988.


Our Address

169 Canada Olympic Road SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T3B 6B7