Wheeler, Lucile

Lucile Wheeler, alpine skier (b at Montréal 14 Jan 1935). Wheeler started skiing at age 2, growing up on her family's ski resort at St-Jovite. She began competing in her teens and spent 5 winters of rigorous training at Kitzbühel, Austria, with coach Pepi Salvenmoser, one of the first North Americans to do so. At the 1956 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, she won Canada's first Olympic ski medal, a bronze in the downhill. In 1958 she shattered a European monopoly of world ski championships by winning both the downhill and giant slalom titles, thereby inspiring Canada to begin sending a national ski team to Europe the following year.

In recognition of the attention she brought to early competitive skiing in Canada, Lucile Wheeler received several honours, including Canada's Outstanding Athlete of the Year (LOU MARSH TROPHY) in 1958, and the ORDER OF CANADA in 1976. In 1958 she was inducted into both the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (the second skier to receive the honour) and CANADA'S SPORTS HALL OF FAME. In 1982 she was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame.