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Category: Skiing

Jill Kinmont Boothe dies; ski champ was left paralyzed at 18

JillJill Kinmont Boothe, the former ski champion and Olympic hopeful who was left paralyzed after a skiing accident in Utah in 1955 and whose inspirational life story was the subject of two Hollywood films, died Thursday in a Carson City hospital. She was 75.

Ruth Rhines, senior deputy coroner of Carson City, confirmed that Boothe died Thursday at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. A cause of death has not been reported and Rhines could not confirm reports that Boothe died of complications related to surgery.

A Los Angeles native, Kinmont Boothe was the U.S. women’s slalom champion in January 1955 when she crashed during a race at Alta, Utah, and suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord damage.

The accident, which left her a quadriplegic at age 18, occurred three days before an issue of Sports Illustrated featuring her on the cover hit newsstands.

Boothe went on to overcome the life-changing tragedy by earning a teaching credential at the University of Washington and having a successful career as a teacher.

Her story was told in the 1975 film “The Other Side of the Mountain” and the 1978 sequel “The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2.”

An elementary school in Bishop, where she lived with her husband John, bears her name.

A complete obituary will follow in the obituaries section of 


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Photo: Jill Kinmont, who was paralyzed in a ski accident a year before the 1956 Winter Games, passes through a gate at Mammath Mt. when she was 18 years old. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.

Sarah Burke's family has to pay extensive medical bills


Sarah Burke died Thursday after succumbing to injuries that she sustained on Jan. 10 during a ski crash in Utah.

In addition to dealing with the tragedy, Burke's husband and parents will be burdened with monster medical bills because the 29-year-old was placed on life support and underwent surgery during her extended hospital stay.

A website was set up to solicit donations to help cover the costs. The goal is to raise $550,000. As of 10:36 a.m. PST, the site says it's 20% of the way there, at $108,999.

Burke, a four-time Winter X Games champion, was considered a pioneer in her sport and helped bring women's superpipe skiing to the X Games.

Here is a statement from the website: "Sarah brought worldwide recognition and validation to the sport she so loved. Every ski athlete chosen to represent his or her country at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will feel her influence. Without her, the sport of freeskiing would not be included."


Sarah Burke dies at 29

Freeskiing star Sarah Burke seriously injured in crash

Freeskiing star Sarah Burke remains in medically induced coma

-- Melissa Rohlin

Sarah Burke, Canadian freestyle skier, dies


Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died Thursday morning, a little over a week after she crashed at the bottom of the superpipe during a training run in Utah. Burke was 29.

Burke sustained a ruptured vertebral artery in the accident and went into cardiac arrest. She was placed on life support and underwent surgery at a hospital in Salt Lake City but had "severe irreversible damage to her brain" because of the lack of oxygen and blood after the cardiac arrest, according to a statement released by Burke's publicist.

Burke was a four-time Winter X Games champion. She lived near Whistler in British Colombia.

"What defines Sarah now is what has always defined her," Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge told the Deseret News. "She was always very gregarious, very outgoing and popular with those around her. She is very giving in terms of her time, especially in the sport.

"In many ways, Sarah defines the sport. She was one of the first people to get into the pipe and bring skis to the pipe. She's always been very dedicated in trying to define her sport, and it's never been about just winning. It's been about pushing the limits. She's always been more concerned about making herself the best, rather than comparing herself to other people."

According to the news release, Burke was surrounded by her loved ones when she died.


Freeskiing star Sarah Burke seriously injured in crash

Freeskiing star Sarah Burke remains in medically induced coma

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Sarah Burke. Credit: David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Freeskiing star Sarah Burke seriously injured in crash

Sarah Burke in 2010

Canadian freeskiing superstar Sarah Burke, a favorite to win the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, was seriously injured Tuesday during a crash in the halfpipe at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.

The location of the accident is the same place where snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a serious head injury while training for the 2010 Olympics.

Burke, a four-time X Games champion, hit her head on impact and was airlifted to a hospital in Salt Lake City. Pete Thomas of reports she is in a coma.

"We're a bit shell-shocked right now," Peter Judge, chief executive of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Assn., told the Toronto Star. "The signs are dramatic and catastrophic, but it's hard to gauge how dramatic and catastrophic. The same treatment and symptoms can be on a broad scale."

Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield, told the Vancouver Sun: "Sarah is a very, very strong human and she will be fine."

Freeskiing involves tricks, jumps and terrain park features, such as rails, boxes, jibs or other obstacles. Think of it as a skateboard park in the snow.


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Photo: Sarah Burke in 2010. Credit: David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Lindsey Vonn, husband to divorce

Olympic gold-medal-winning skier Lindsey Vonn and her husband, Thomas Vonn, have announced they will be divorcing
Olympic gold-medal-winning skier Lindsey Vonn and her husband, Thomas Vonn, have announced they will be divorcing after four years of marriage.

Lindsey Vonn said she will keep her married name. She was known as Lindsey Kildow before her 2007 marriage.

"This is an extremely difficult time in my personal life and I hope the media and my fans can respect my need for privacy on this matter," she said in a statement.

In addition to being her husband, Thomas Vonn coordinated his wife's interviews and served as a quasi-coach. He said he is ending all input concerning her career.

Lindsey Vonn won a gold medal in the downhill and a bronze in the super-G at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

She also has won three overall World Cup titles and has 42 World Cup race victories, fourth place on the career list. She is also one of only five female skiers to win a race in all five Alpine disciplines.


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Photo: Lindsey and Thomas Vonn in 2010. Credit: Allessandro Della Bella / Associated Press



Lindsey Vonn posts video of own 'pretty scary crash' on Facebook

Vonn_400 Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn posted a video of herself crashing, hitting her head on the slope and lying motionless in the snow (complete with two slow-motion videos) on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

The three-time overall World Cup champion also reassured fans and followers that she has "no major injuries" after the "pretty scary crash," which occurred during a training run in Austria six days before the start of the world championships.

She wrote: "I had a pretty scary crash today training GS in Hintereit, Austria. I hit my head pretty hard and had to go to the hospital to get a CT scan. Luckily the scan showed no major injuries! I will be very sore tomorrow but should be fine in a few days. I will have to see how I feel and play it by ear for the upcoming races ..."

Since Vonn herself posted the video and now that we know she's OK, it doesn't seem too inappropriate to point out that it's a pretty spectacular video.

-- Chuck Schilken

Skiing may be only one of Lindsey Vonn's talents



Lindsey Vonn, the Olympic gold medal-winning downhill skier, incorporated 400-meter sprints into her training regimen over the summer to increase her ability to explode out of turns in the slalom.

If she ever gets tired of the snow, she may have another option.

She said her fastest quarter-mile was a self-timed 52 seconds. With that time, she could've won gold at both the 1964 and '68 Olympics.

"My husband doesn't even believe me, no one believes me," Vonn said, laughing. "It's pretty fast and it was on my eighth lap."

She's even a bit incredulous.

"I admit it does seem a little fishy," she said. "It could be off."

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Lindsey Vonn. Credit: Hans Klaus Techt / European Press Agency

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lindsey Vonn clinches third straight World Cup overall title

Vonn American alpine superstar Lindsey Vonn added to her growing legacy Friday by following up her Olympic gold medal in Vancouver with her third straight World Cup overall title.

Vonn, the first American woman to win the Olympic downhill, edged out German Maria Riesch, a double gold winner in Vancouver, for the overall title at the World Cup finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Vonn had already clinched the overall title when Riesch, who needed to finish in the top two of the super giant slalom to stay in points contention, was knocked into third place before Vonn ran.

Just for good measure, though, the 25-year-old Vonn won the super-G race to record her American-record 33rd World Cup victory, one more than teammate Bode Miller.

"I knew what place Maria was in, so I knew the World Cup overall was already secured," Vonn said. "But I still wanted to go out there and have a good end to the season, I'm just really happy I had a good run and was able to end the season well."

American Ted Ligety, who failed to medal at the Olympics, clinched his second World Cup giant slalom event title with a third-place finish on Friday.

Continue reading »

Lindsey V for victory (and second place)

Lindsey Van

Friday was a good day to be a 24-year-old U.S. skier who lives in Park City and is named Lindsey V.

Lindsey Van went into the history books as the first women's world champion in ski jumping.

Lindsey Vonn, who won two titles at this year's alpine worlds, got back to a podium for the first time since slicing her thumb on a broken Champagne bottle 12 days ago, finishing second to Maria Riesch of Germany in a World Cup super-combined race at Tarvisio, Italy.

It's too bad only one of them will have a chance to do it again next year in the Olympics, unless the Supreme Court of British Columbia rules in the jumpers' favor this spring.

Ten jumpers from six countries have sued the Vancouver Olympic organizers to gain ...

Continue reading »

More mumbo-jumbo, no medals for Miller


Bode Miller now is 0 for 3, 0 for 4 or 0 for 15.

That means Miller has not won a medal in 15 events of the three major championships in the last four years.

At the 2009 worlds that ended Sunday in Val d'Isere, France, he failed to finish three races, including the first run of Sunday's slalom, and his top finish was eighth in the downhill.

But he did criticize the three medalists in the super-giant slalom because they skied defensively on a course that demanded it.  He, by comparison, threw away a medal in the combined by skiing like a mad fool in the slalom leg and missing a gate, and he was 12th in the Super-G.

He was better in the 2007 worlds: sixth, seventh, 15th, 24th, one DNF.

And, sort of, in the 2006 Olympics: fifth, sixth, two DNFs, one disqualification.

That means he has finished barely half his races (eight of 15) in the last three world championships.

Now there is no question he caught a very bad break in the 2009 downhill, forced to ski through fog so thick the race should have been stopped. And Miller has been battling an ankle injury all season.

But the man who is rightly called the greatest male skier in U.S. history is struggling as never before.

After a 2008 season in which he won the World Cup title with six race victories and five other podium finishes, Miller has not won a race, made the podium just twice and had only four other top-10 finishes this season.

"The results are disappointing, the skiing wasn't,'' Miller said on Sunday.

That was typical Miller mumbo-jumbo, explaining away his failures by insisting, like an artist whose paintings don't sell, that the way he skis, in some search for the ethereal, counts for more than medals.

In an interview last week with Alan Abrahamson of Universal Sports, Miller mentioned he might skip the 2010 Olympics, saying it was "probably likely'' he would retire after this season.

Miller did the same dance the year before the 2006 Olympics.  It made big news because he was coming off a 2005 season in which he won the World Cup overall and world titles in downhill and Super-G.  There was almost a "say it ain't so'' reaction from the non-ski-specialist media, who were told Miller was a ski genius and had yet to discover Miller is a tedious bore given to statements that smack of hypocrisy.

He worried in 2005 that winning a bunch of gold medals would make it hard for him to lead a normal life.  But he likes the life of success, with its Porsches and fast groupies and the rest of the accouterments.

That was no issue after his performance at the 2006 Olympics.

And he is no issue heading toward the 2010 Winter Games, even if he may decide to compete and probably still is capable of getting the Olympic gold medal so lacking from his resume, but not the resumes of nearly all the other great skiers in history.

I leave the last word to John Meyer of the Denver Post, who has paid close attention to skiing for years.

His Saturday blog was headlined, "Bode has become irrelevant -- does anybody care?''

You know the answer.

-- Philip Hersh

Photo: An all-too-familiar sight: Bode Miller failing to finish, this time in the first run of the men's slalom Sunday at the world championships.  Credit: Alessandro Trovati / Associated Press

Lindsey Vonn's thumb injury puts her season in doubt

Lindsey Vonn U.S skier Lindsey Vonn will wait to see if she can ski without "extreme pain'' in training before deciding whether to compete in Saturday's slalom, the final women's race at the world championships in Val d'Isere, France.

Vonn, who won Monday's downhill, said today that the condition of the thumb -- which she cut while opening a Champagne bottle Monday at a victory party -- could compromise the rest of her season.

Speaking about the party, Vonn said what "was supposed to be a wonderful night turned into total chaos.''

Read Philip Hersh's full report on

Photo: Lindsey Vonn at today's news conference. Credit: Frank Fife / AFP / Getty Images


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