Scott named to Olympic Hall of Fame
There are scant few awards cross-country ski legend Beckie Scott hasn’t won. Between two Olympic medals, 17 World Cup podium finishes and countless accolades celebrating her athletic and social justice work, Scott’s legacy has far-reaching consequences.
Now, she can now add member of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame to that list after receiving notice she’ll be inducted this fall.
“It’s a huge honour. I’m thrilled to be inducted into the hall of fame,” Scott said. “It feels like another lifetime, but it was such a fun and memorable part of life.”
During her 11-year career with the National Ski Team, Scott became the most decorated Canadian athlete in ski history. Her Olympic medals rank as her most treasured, even though she still leads Canada in World Cup medals.
“Truthfully, an Olympic medal is really something special. On the day that mattered you performed to the best of your ability. On the World Cup you get a chance every weekend. At the Olympics you only get a chance every four years,” Scott said.
She’s quick to cite her favourite Olympic moment – 2002 in Salt Lake City – where she became the first North American woman to win an Olympic medal. Originally awarded the bronze medal in the 2x5-km pursuit, the medal was upgraded to gold as the two skiers who finished ahead of her later tested positive for a banned substance. Winning the historic medal in front of so many friends and family, the experience sent her into the record books and shaped much of her life after skiing.
“My all-time greatest accomplishment would be the medal in Salt Lake City. It was an amazing games to be a part of. Everything leading up to the medal and when it happened was a momentous occasion, not only for reaching the podium, but for what it stood for in terms of doping in sport,” Scott said.
Three cross-country ski medal winners were stripped of their victories at the Salt Lake games because of doping.
While the first win had so many political implications, her second Olympic medal was the stuff of legend. At the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy in the team sprint, Sara Renner broke her pole early, essentially removing the Canadian team from contention. However Norwegian coach Bjornar Hakensmoen tossed Renner a spare pole, and the Canadian duo double-poled their way to silver. The race made Scott and Renner household names across Canada, and Hakensmoen was sent five tons or maple syrup for his assistance.
Scott, 37, still tells her stories to younger skiers with Olympic dreams.
“I’m always happy to share the experience. It’s almost a responsibility once you win an Olympic medal. You have to share the magic.”
Despite being part of two seminal moments in Canadian ski history, Scott doesn’t miss the stress of competition.
“I don’t miss competing at all. When I was done my career, I knew I was done. I was fine with how it ended. I have no desire to compete again,” Scott said.
Today, Scott is busy raising her two children Teo and Brynn with her husband Justin Wadsworth, head coach of the Canadian national cross-country ski team. She’s one of two Canadian members of the International Olympic Committee and is active with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“It’s one of the first movements I became involved in. I chose to speak out against doping in sport because it was a big problem in cross-country skiing. It was a chance to fight a serious threat to our sport,” Scott said.
“The reality is there will always be doping in sport. But the good news is there is a lot of research coming to close those avenues.”
While she’s stepped away from ski racing, Scott is a staple on local ski trails.
“Skiing is a huge part of my life. I would go nuts if I couldn’t ski. It’s part of my social life and daily existence, and I still love it. Now that I have a family, skiing is something I can share. It’s a sport I definitely want to see my children involved in.”
“It’s still a community-based, family-centred sport. I travel around the country to visit clubs and they’re all close community-based groups,” Scott said.
She’ll be inducted alongside wrestler David Igali, moguls skier Jean-Luc Brassard, the 2010 men’s hockey team and the late freestyle skier Sarah Burke on Sept. 21 in Toronto.
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