Sarah Burke: Simcoe County highway dedicated in skier's name
Dad Gord Burke says it's the 'most incredible honours anyone can have'
The Ontario government will dedicate a highway in memory of Sarah Burke, the champion freestyle skier from Barrie, Ont., who died from injuries sustained during a training accident in January 2012.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Ontario will dedicate Highway 93, which runs through Simcoe County where Burke was born and raised, as the Sarah Burke Memorial Highway.
"She showed us how much we can achieve if we dare to try," Wynne said at a reception for Sochi Olympians and Paralympians at Queen's Park Wednesday night.
The premiere said in a statement earlier in the day that the highway will "provide a lasting reminder of her accomplishments."
"It will remind girls everywhere of the amazing possibilities that are open to them in our beautiful province," she said.
Burke died after a fall during training accident in Salt Lake City, Utah, after tearing the artery that supplies blood to the brain stem during a training run in the superpipe at an event at the Park City Mountain resort.
The ceremony, which was hosted by Wynne and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley, was attended by Burke's parents who said the highway isn't far from where their daughter learned to ski.
"It is in my own backyard, it brings back so many fond memories, travelling along the highway, " said mom Jan Phelan.
Burke's dad Gord added "there are a lot of memories there i think its one of the most incredible honours anyone can have."
Born in Barrie, Ont., and raised in Midland, Burke got her start skiing with her family when she was five years old. She took up moguls skiing and competed for Team Ontario before switching to freestyle and winning the halfpipe competition at the 2001 U.S. Open of Freeskiing.
Burke won four gold medals in superpipe at the Winter X Games and an additional gold in the event at the Winter X Games Europe, having swept both competitions in 2011. She was the early favourite for the event's Olympic debut.
She also won the 2005 world championships, was the first woman to land a 1080-degree spin (three full rotations) in competition and won the 2007 ESPY award as Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
Along with her accomplishments on the slopes, Burke will also be remembered for her fierce advocacy for halfpipe skiing's addition to the Olympics.