A year to the day after Whistler halfpipe skier Sarah Burke died following a training accident in Utah, Winsport Canada has announced the extension of the Sarah Burke Performance Award through the 2013 season.
Canadian mogul skiers competing at the 2013 Freestyle Ski Moguls Grand Prix at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Jan. 26 will be eligible to earn it in Burke’s memory, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association said in a release.
Any Canadian athlete who earns a podium place at a World Cup event at Canada Olympic Park will be awarded $5,000 for their achievement.
Last year, four Canadian freestyle skiers earned Sarah Burke Performance Awards at the World Cup, also in Calgary.
Winsport Canada introduced the Sarah Burke Performance Award to honor Burke’s contributions to winter sport a year ago, following her tragic death at the age of 29 on Jan. 19, 2012.
The Midland, Ontario, native is widely credited with promoting women’s standing and participation in sport, and with helping to bring halfpipe skiing to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Earlier this year Burke was recognized by the Canadian Olympic Committee with an induction into its Hall of Fame as a ‘Builder’, doing so much to bring the sport into Olympic competition though never being able to take part herself.
Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge said: “Sarah exemplified all the best qualities of a leader, an athlete and a human being. She is dearly missed by the entire sport community and we again extend our condolences to her family and friends who have shown over the past year that they will never let her flame go out.”
Burke’s husband Rory Bushfield told the Globe and Mail in an interview this week about his involvement in Nitro Circus and said he would be at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado, next week.
On Jan. 8, Bushfield and others announced the creation of a foundation in his late wife’s honour, the Sarah Burke Foundation, using the remainder of over $300,000 in funds that were generated by donations to help cover her hospital bills.
The foundation will begin to accept grant applications from aspiring winter sports athletes in February. As well, the foundation will make contributions to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, a charity that Burke supported in the past and once ran a marathon to support.
- With files by Andrew Mitchell