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Elisabeth Vathje's success has been a family effort

Elisabeth Vathje's sliding career has been a family affair from the start. The Calgary native was an athletic child who fell in love with the Olympics after watching the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Calgary native hopes to reach Olympic podium

The Calgary native points to the constant support of her family as a major factor in her success. (CBC Sports )

Elisabeth Vathje's sliding career has been a family affair from the start.

The Calgary native was an athletic child who fell in love with the Olympics after watching the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

When Vathje's father found himself on a plane with the Canadian luge team, he made sure to pick their brains to help determine which sport his daughter should pursue. They told him Vathje was likely too old for luge and too young for bobsleigh, so skeleton it was. 

Vathje recently kicked off her season with a silver medal in the season opening World Cup stop. (CBC Sports )

Although the Canadian champion's dad is credited with getting Vathje into skeleton, her mom Rita also has a vital role in the sport. She volunteers on the board of Alberta Skeleton where she is the treasurer and works in the administration office.

Growing up, Vathje spent a lot of time with her grandparents, even sleeping in their bed sometimes because she was too scared to sleep alone.

Vathje got her first taste of skeleton at age 14 and realized then that "It was love at first slide."

She's a five-time medallist on the World Cup circuit, most recently capturing silver at the season opener in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The skeleton athlete has always had a close connection to family, and her grandparents were a constant support for Vathje growing up and helped motivate her to succeed in all avenues of life 1:10

Get to know Calgary

  • Notable Olympians include: Jamie Sale, Kaillie Humphries, Mark Tewksbury and Kyle Shewfelt 
  • With over 2,300 hours of sunshine a year, Calgary is Canada's sunniest city
  • Twelve professional wrestlers call Calgary home including the famous Hart family
  • The alleged birthplace of the caesar, the famous Canadian cocktail 
  • Hosted Canada's first ever Winter Olympic Games in 1988


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