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The slalom run that gave Anne Heggtveit and Canada a historic gold

The day before her slalom race at the 1960 Winter Olympics, Anne Heggtveit opted for sleep over a chance to survey the course. It would turn out to be the right choice.

Before Heggtveit's Olympic victory in 1960, Canada had never won a gold in alpine skiing

In this 1960 photo, Anne Heggtveit is seen showing off the gold medal she won at the 1960 Winter Olympics. (E. Ferrat / National Film Board of Canada /Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada)
The day before she claimed a historic victory for Canada at the 1960 Winter Olympics, Anne Heggtveit had opted for sleep over a chance to survey the slalom course she'd be racing on in Squaw Valley, Calif.

It would prove to be the right choice, as the well-rested Heggtveit would take home the gold medal in the slalom event.

Canadian skiing star Anne Heggtveit is seen appearing on CBC's Front Page Challenge in 1960. (Roy Martin/CBC Still Photo Collection)

And according to the Canadian Olympic Team website, it was the first time Canada had claimed a gold medal in alpine skiing at the Olympic Games.

"I think I'm the only girl on any of the teams who didn't go up and study it," the 21-year-old Heggtveit told CBC back in February 1960, speaking about the course shortly after her Canadian-first victory. "Instead, I went to bed early last night and had a good night's sleep."

Heggtveit said she felt calm during the competition.

"I was determined that I was going to go out there and do my best and do as well as I've been doing in practice, anyway," said Heggtveit, who turns 80 on Friday. "And I wasn't nervous at all."
Slalom skier Anne Heggtveit reacts after winning gold at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. 1:25

That same year Heggtveit would go on to win the Lou Marsh Award — an award recognizing Canada's top athlete.

She started skiing early

In 1960, Anne Heggtveit talks about her early years in skiing and some of the specifics of her sport. 1:24

Appearing on CBC's Front Page Challenge in March of 1960, Heggtveit talked about her early days in her sport, which began well before she started school.

"I started at the age of two. I think I went up to the ski club at the age of three and started racing at the age of six," Heggtveit told the panellists.

In 1976, Heggtveit was made a member of the Order of Canada. She was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1982.