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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

KAREN PERCY

Inducted in 1994

Member Details

Date of Birth: October 10, 1966
Place of Birth: Edmonton, Alberta
Sport: Alpine Skiing
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1987

Bronze medal, Combined, World Cup

1988

Calgary Olympic Games - two bronze medals

1989

Silver medal, Downhill, World Cup

Honoured Member KAREN PERCY
Inspire

Story

Karen Percy grew up idolizing Nancy Greene, little knowing that she, too, would become one of Canada's finest all-round skiers in her own time. Percy joined the national alpine ski team in 1984 and made her World Cup debut with an 11th place overall finish in the combined championship at the 1985 world alpine ski championships in Bormio, Italy. While most skiers specialized in one or two events, Percy had the talent and motivation to compete in all four World Cup disciplines. This was no easy feat, as she had to adjust from the speed and strength of the downhill event to the precision and technical demands of slalom from race to race. While ski racing specialists had breaks between races, Percy was dashing from downhill competitions to slalom and giant slalom races all over Europe. Her coaches initially felt she would tire of the pace and wanted her to select a specialty, but Percy couldn't make the choice as she consistently earned placings in the top 15 in downhill and top 20 in slalom and giant slalom. Percy's all-round training paid off when, in December 1987, she won a combined bronze medal and placed fourth in the giant slalom at Leuderbad, Switzerland. The combined placings are determined by results in downhill and slalom at the same World Cup meet, catering to the talents of versatile skiers such as Percy. At the 1988 Calgary Olympics, Percy entered all alpine events and was also placed under the additional pressure of being a "home town" favourite. She responded by winning a bronze medal in the Olympic downhill with a time of 1:26.62. Her second bronze medal, this time in Super G, made her Canada's first double medalist in skiing since Nancy Greene at the 1968 Games in Grenoble, France. Percy narrowly missed a third bronze medal in the combined event when she lost her grip on her ski pole halfway through the second and final slalom course, but she settled for a respectable fourth place. A final highlight of Percy's career came at the world alpine championships at Vail, Colorado, in February 1989. Starting second in the downhill, she skied to her best finish ever, claiming the silver medal in 1:48. In the process, she solidified her place in Canada's alpine skiing history. Percy announced her retirement in August 1990, ending a five-year career that included seven top-ten finishes in World Cup races as well as her Olympic and World Championship success. For her outstanding achievements on the slopes, Percy was named to the Order of Canada in 1988 and was inducted into the Canadian Skiing Hall of Fame in 1992.


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