The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Anne Heggtveit

Downhill Skiing

1960


Black and white photo of Anne Heggtveit holding her skis

Black and white photo of Anne Heggtveit holding her skis

Date
c.1960
Collection
Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

Canada's First Olympic Gold Medalist in Alpine Skiing

Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley, California, February 26, 1960.

The 21 year old from Ottawa climbed the mountain with her coach early that morning to survey the slalom course and was overcome with a jubilant feeling that this would be her day. Anne Heggtveit was about to face 42 of the world's best skiers in a sport the Europeans had completely dominated.

The slalom is a very tricky event against an electronic clock counting two combined runs down different courses. One slip or a fall on either and it's game over!

Anne's amazing first run put her 1.5 seconds ahead. A lead of this magnitude is unheard of in slalom and a conservative second run would yield an almost certain medal. Protecting the lead was not on Anne's mind. She was going for Gold! She bravely attacked the more difficult second course, and with her 3.3 second combined run advantage, she recorded the largest winning margin ever posted in Women's Olympic or World Slalom competition. More importantly she captured Canada's first ever Olympic Gold Medal in Alpine Skiing.

Anne's buoyant confidence and rise to Olympic Champion that morning was the culmination of a journey that began 19 years earlier. She started skiing at the age of two in the Gatineau Hills north of Ottawa. By the age of seven she was already winning senior women's races, and at 15 she stunned the international ski world by winning the Giant Slalom at the historic Holmenkollen event in Norway; becoming its youngest champion. A fractured leg in 1955 led to a disappointing 1956 Olympic performance, however, she fought back. In 1959 she became the first non-European to win the prestigious Arlberg-Kandahar Championship at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Biggest Trophy of All … Marsh Trophy to Anne Adobe PDF Transcript


Highlights

1959
Bobby Rosenfeld Award (Canada's female athlete of the year)
1960
Winter Olympic Games, Squaw Valley, Gold Medal, slalom
1960
World Champion - combined alpine and slalom
1960
Bobby Rosenfeld Award (Canada's female athlete of the year)
1960
Lou Marsh Memorial Award