Chandra Crawford surprised everyone when she won the gold medal in the free sprint at the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Prior to the Games she had made just 11 World Cup starts, but headed to Turin on a high note after winning her first World Cup medal, bronze, in the free sprint at Davos less than a week before the Olympic Opening Ceremony. An unknown compared to teammates Beckie Scott and Sara Renner, Crawford powered through the stages of the sprint, winning her quarterfinal and semifinal before skiing to victory. Crawford enthusiastically singing O Canada on the podium was one of the enduring images of the Games.
Crawford would become the leader of the Canadian women’s cross-country ski team, earning her first World Cup victory at her home venue in Canmore in January 2008. Crawford would post up-and-down results over the next few years, winning four more World Cup medals bringing her career total to six. But she could not get back onto the podium at either the world championships or Olympic Games.
Crawford missed almost the entire 2008-09 season, including all the World Cups and world championships, when she needed surgery for compartment syndrome in her shins. Crawford chose to bring an early end to her 2012-13 season after competing at the Sochi 2014 test event. She skipped the 2013 World Championships to give herself a chance to physically and mentally recover in advance of the Olympic season. She finished 44th in the free sprint at Sochi 2014 and then announced her retirement on March 27, 2014 to focus on running “Fast and Female”, her organization dedicated to the empowerment of girls through sport.
2006 Olympic Champion (sprint)…
Getting Into Sport: Was inspired to try biathlon after watching Myriam Bedard win two gold medals at Lillehammer 1994… Competed in biathlon for five years before switching to cross-country skiing at age 16 because she wasn’t a strong shooter… Fortunate to grow up in Canmore where world class cross-country ski facilities exist after playing host to Nordic events for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games… Outside Interests: Used her Olympic victory to launch, “Fast and Female”, an organization dedicated to empowerment through sport which strives to get girls aged 9 to 19 hooked on an athletic lifestyle… Once received a bell that rings for the exact length of her Olympic gold medal race…
NOTABLE INTERNATIONAL RESULTS
FIS World Championships: 2011 – 14th (4x5km relay), 28th (sprint free), 42nd (30km mass start free), 52nd (10km classic); 2007 – 15th (team sprint free), 16th (4x5km relay), 32nd (sprint classic), 59th (10km free); 2005 – 45th (sprint classic), DNF (30km mass start classic)