Just last week, on January 19, 2012, the freestyle skiing industry lost icon Sarah Burke. Sarah was a free skiing pioneer as well as a six-time X Games gold medalist.
The accident happened during a training session in Utah. During a routine trick, Sarah landed on her feet, then fell shortly after which caused the impact to the head. Official reports said the cause of death was a severed neck artery which led into a heart attack, stopping blood flow to the brain and causing irreversible damage. Because of the nature of the fall, experts say that not even better protection gear would have changed the outcome.
Sarah grew up in Midland, Ontario Canada and started skiing with her family at the young age of 5 years old. When she was old enough she pursued skiing passionately at local resorts every day as an after school activity. Shortly after she joined a Freestyle club and traveled to several events and competitions. Soon enough, all the hard work had paid off and Sarah became part of an official Ontario team. This of course led into milestones in her career such as gold medals in the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships, as well as the X Games between 2007 and 2011.
Sarah was expected to be one of the main contenders at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. When that time comes, every ski athlete from every country will acknowledge and give thanks to her for bringing worldwide recognition to the freestyle skiing industry. Without her, free skiing would not be included in the Olympics today.
Because of terms within the insurance policy, sanctions, and sponsorship involvement during the accident, Burke was not covered for her medical expenses. If you would like to help the family please click here to donate. Sarah is survived by parents Gordon and Jan, sister Anna, and husband Rory.