BROADCAST DATE : Mar 3, 1981


Steve Podborski - now the chef de mission for the Canadian team at the Sochi Olympic Games - was on a winning streak when the fifth estate`s reporter Ian Parker profiled the young downhill skier in 1981.

Podborski was one of the `Crazy Canucks`, Canada’s daredevil downhill skiers who rivaled the European racers who traditionally dominated the sport. At the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, he became the first North American man to win an Olympic medal in the downhill event, with a bronze medal - representing half of Canada`s total medal count that year.

The fifth estate’s Parker went to Podborski`s home in Toronto to interview his parents, both avid skiers, and to the Craigleith ski club to meet the coach who first recognized his talent.  Podborski talks about recovering from a serious leg injury, and the pressures of fame and sponsorship. He did not win the World Cup race in Aspen, Colorado that Parker mentions at the end of the program.

But just one year after it aired, Podborski became the first - and still the only - North America to win the World Cup season title for downhill racing.  In 1982, he was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada.  Two years later, at the age of 26, he retired from the sport.

After retirement, Podborski continued to play a prominent role in the Olympics, working as a commentator for American television networks for winter Olympics between 1998 and 2006. He was also on the bid committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, focusing on international relations.

Now he is playing a leading role at Sochi, as the chef de mission by the Canadian Olympic Committee for the 2014 games.  As chef de mission, Podborski will be the team leader and spokesperson for Canadian athletes at the Games, and will work with the COC to prepare them for the Olympic environment. 

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