, , , , , , , , , , ,

Sarah Burke (September 3, 1982 – January 19, 2012)

Sarah Jean Burke was a Canadian freestyle skier who pioneered the superpipe event. She won four Gold Winter X Game medals and the world championship in the halfpipe in 2005. She successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to add the superpipe to the Olympic program for the 2014 Winter Olympics, where she was considered the gold medal favorite.

On January 10, 2012 Burke was training at the Park City Mountain Resort Eagle superpipe in Park City, Utah. (This is the same superpipe where snowboarder Kevin Pearce was injured in 2009). Burke had completed a trick, but fell and landed on her head. Initially appearing to be fine, she soon went into cardiac arrest. Burke was resuscitated and airlifted to a Salt Lake City hospital. Burke was placed in a medically induced coma. On January 11, she underwent neurosurgery to repair a tear in the vertebral artery. She later died from these injuries on January 19, 2012. Burke was only 29 years old. Burke was survived by her husband, freeskier Rory Bushfield, whom she married in September 2010.

In June 2012, the Canadian Olympic Committee inducted Burke into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. In March 2014 it was announced that Highway 93 would be re-named the Sarah Burke Memorial Highway. The Highway extends the length of Simcoe county and ends near Barrie, Ontario, Burke’s birthplace.