The Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died today at just 29. She crashed on Jan 10 during her training. Sarah Burke was an X Games star with a grass-roots mentality — a daredevil superpipe skier who understood the risks inherent to her sport and the debt she owed to it for her success on the slopes.
“Sarah was the one who, in a very positive way, stood in the face of adversity and asked, ‘Why not?'” said Peter Judge, the CEO of Canada’s freestyle team. “What she would have wanted was for her teammates and others in her sport to stand up and also say, ‘Why not?’ To benefit from the significant opportunities available to them, being able to compete in the Olympics and the X Games. Those were the things she wanted and cherished and fought for.”
A four-time Winter X Games champion, Burke crashed on the same halfpipe where snowboarder Kevin Pearce sustained a traumatic brain injury during a training accident on Dec. 31, 2009.
Tests revealed she sustained “irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest,” according to a statement released by her publicist, Nicole Wool, on behalf of the family.
Burke will be remembered as much for the hardware she collected as the legacy she left for women in superpipe skiing, a sister sport to the more popular snowboarding brand that has turned Shaun White, Hannah Teter and others into stars.