Friday, February 21, 2014

Sarah Burke: Olympic Skiers Pay Beautiful Tribute After Her Death

The skiing community was brokenhearted when Canadian X Games star Sarah Burke died of a brain injury in January of 2012, and on Feb. 20 they honored her memory at the Sochi Olympic Games with a beautiful tribute that tugged on Sarah’s father’s — and the rest of the world’s — heartstrings.

Sarah undoubtedly would have been thrilled to see Maddie Bowman taking the gold in the women’s halfpipe, and no matter what you think may or may not be up in that sky, it still has to tug on your heartstrings when you see every Olympic halfpipe worker pointing to it to honor their fallen friend.

The simple, spiritual act was a beautiful way to honor Sarah, who died doing the very thing that got all of these amazing women to the Sochi games. Sarah was one of the pioneers in bringing the halfpipe event to the Olympic games, and was even considered a favorite to win the gold before her untimely death. Therefore, after learning that they were not allowed to wear helmets honoring Sarah throughout the games, the ladies formed a different plan of “attack” — the workers on the halfpipe formed a giant, human heart and pointed to the sky in her honor. Gorgeous.
“[The tribute was] far beyond what I thought it would be,” Sarah’s father Gord Burke — who traveled to Russia from Toronto — told the Associated Press after the event. “I never really imagined so much love for one person. So much passion and energy.”
The AP adds that Gord spent the entire day smiling.
Australian Torah Bright spoke out strongly against the IOC’s decision to ban stickers supporting Sarah in the games, posting a pointed message to her Instagram account on Feb. 7.
“Tonight marks the beginning of the 2014 Olympic Games. I am at these Olympics for multiple reason. Firstly, to represent my country and share with the world the sport which has blessed my life with beauty and joy. I am also here to honor my great friend Sarah Burke who left this world two years ago. I ride with a Sarah sticker on my snowboard and helmet always. The IOC however, consider Sarah stickers “a political statement” and have banned them. WOW. Sarah is a beautiful, talented, powerful women, who’s spirit inspires me still. She is a big reason why skier pipe/slope are now Olympic events. Lastly, My dear friends lost their first born yesterday. Neena and Andy your strength overwhelms me. More than anything, I wish I was there with you, to support you in love, as you have done for me through my own hardships. I will draw from your strength and do what I need to do. With an aching heart, I board… For your beautiful Indira. #godbewithyou”