Sarah Burke’s extraordinary life and contributions to women’s sport are being recognized by Canada Post in a new series of stamps that was released on Thursday (Oct. 31) to recognize the coming Olympic Winter Games.
Burke was one of the world’s top freeskiers, a four-time X Games gold medallist and halfpipe specialist who successfully lobbied for the inclusion of freeskiing in the Olympics, while also inspiring a generation of girls to ski in her tracks. She landed the first 720, 900 and 1080 spins by a woman in competition, and always seemed to be one spin ahead of the rest of the field.
She would have been the favourite going into the Sochi Games in February when the sport of ski halfpipe makes its debut, but she crashed during training in January 2012 and suffered a brain injury that would claim her life nine days later.
Burke grew up skiing in Whistler with Momentum Ski Camps and was living in Squamish with husband Rory Bushfield at the time of her death.
Other stamps offered by Canada Post include Sandra Schmirier, a 1998 gold medallist in curling and 1948 Olympic figure skate champion Barbara Ann Scott.
Whistler Saints win final game of season; Grizzles handed third loss
The Whistler Saints flag football team earned a well-deserved bye in the first round of playoffs in the North Shore Football League, winning their last regular season game to finish on top of the standings with an 8-1 record.
In their last game, the Saints edged the North Vancouver Vikings 21-14, with Beynond McKeens scoring twice for Whistler — including one score off a kickoff. Quarterback Liam Forsyth also scrambled for a touchdown, with Marlow Gaddes adding the last score.
The Saints next game is the semi-final on Nov. 17.
Sean Pettit makes appearance in reality TV show
Whistler freeskier Sean Pettit made an appearance in the MTV Canada debut of McMorris and McMorris, a reality television show that follows Mark McMorris — X Games slopestyle champion two years running — and his brother Craign, also a professional snowboarder — on their adventures.
Pettit appears as a guest of the McMorris’ in the run-up to X Games, doing a few park runs with Craig McMorris and celebrating with the brothers after Mark’s gold medal.
The first episode is online at www.mtv.ca.
Heinecke launches Pursu.it campaign
Another Sea to Sky athlete has joined the ranks of athletes raising money on Pursu.it, an online crowdfunding site that has raised more than $200,000 for Canadian athletes in small donations over the past year.
Megan Heinecke, who hails from Prince George and lives in Squamish, wants to represent Canada in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in the sport of biathlon. She also raced and shot for Canada in the 2010 Games.
Heinecke was named to the last World Championship team in 2012, and posted some strong results at nationals in March after taking some time off from competing to focus on her training.
She’s looking to raise $7,500 on Pursu.it, which will only cover a portion of her costs.
“Like many of our athletes, I am struggling to fund my season,” she said. “I am extremely grateful for the sponsors that I do have and media exposure is one of the best ways to thank them.”
Heinecke took a one-year break after the Olympics to start a family with her husband and coach iLmar, who is generally based out of Germany. Dividing her time between Canada and Germany makes her ineligible for Sport Canada funding, and makes it more challenging to find sponsors as well.
That said, Heinecke is committed to making the team this season and finishing in the top 20 per cent.
“I have dreamed for eight years about representing Canada to the best of my ability on the world stage,” said Heinecke. “Competing in Vancouver made a portion of this dream come true, but it is far from over. This Olympic season my goal is much more result-oriented and I want to do everything possible to see myself in the top 16 (out of a field of approximately 120 women) in Sochi.”
To support Heinecke’s Olympic bid, visit www.pursu.it.
IndyCar race proposed for Whistler, Sea to Sky
The most recent council package includes a letter from Brian Wolfgang Becker that tables the idea of hosting an IndyCar race series with three events between Vancouver and Whistler, taking place over 10 days.
Becker says he has been in touch with the IndyCar head office to pitch the proposal, which would replace the Vancouver IndyCar race that was moved to Edmonton in 2005, and has recently been cancelled.
Becker estimates that more than 65,000 tickets could be sold to the three events, with a global television audience of between 20 and 30 million.
There are a few catches. There would be highway closures associated with all three race courses (Stanley Park, Sea to Sky Highway and Whistler), and substantial infrastructure upgrades would be required to accommodate race cars: $20 million in highway/road improvements for Vancouver, the same amount for Whistler and $5 million for the Squamish area.
The Whistler course, attached to the council packages, is a loop of the Village: Lorimer Road to Whistler Way, around the Whistler Conference Centre, down Village Gate to Blackcomb Way, and around Blackcomb Way back to Lorimer.