At the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Helen Upperton missed a bronze medal by just five-one hundredths of a second. Four years later she stood in the silver medal position on the podium at Vancouver 2010 with brakeman Shelley-Ann Brown.
Upperton had been born in Kuwait where her parents worked in the oil industry before they moved to Canada when she was three. She went on to be a triple jumper at the University of Texas, but turned her attention to bobsleigh after suffering a stress fracture in her right foot. She produced two notable “firsts” for Canadian female bobsledders, winning the country’s first women’s World Cup medal in November 2005, followed by the first women’s World Cup gold medal in January 2006.
Aside from her near-podium finish at Turin 2006, Upperton also finished a heartbreaking fourth at both the 2008 and 2009 World Championships. Upperton announced her retirement in September 2012 alongside Brown after nearly a decade as one of Canada’s top pilots.
World Championship Results
2009 (Lake Placid, USA): 4th 2008 (Altenberg, GER): 4th 2007 (St. Moritz, SUI): 6th
2009-10: Won silver in Altenberg, GER (12/19/09) and has three other top-5 finishes. 2008-09: Finished fourth at WC … Won two World Cup gold at start of season in Winterberg, GER (11/29/08) and Igls, AUT (12/12/08) … Suffered rib injury which affected results in second half of season. 2007-08: Finished third in Overall World Cup standings … Never finished below fourth in eight races with five podium finishes, including gold in Calgary (11/30/07) and Cesana, ITA (01/19/08), silver in Lake Placid, USA and Cortina, ITA and bronze in St. Moritz, SUI … Finished fourth at WC. 2006-07: Had three podium finishes and five fourth-place finishes in World Cup competition … Finished fourth in Overall World Cup points … Finished 6th at WC. 2005-06: Raced to three World Cup podium finishes … Finished fourth at Olympic Winter Games with Heather Moyse, just 5/100th of a second behind Germany. 2004-05: With brakeman Heather Moyse, became first Canadian women’s sled to win World Cup race, finishing first in St. Moritz, SUI … Finished season with five podium results, second in Overall World Cup points … Finished 12th at WC. 2003-04: In first season as pilot, competed in four World Cup races … Had eighth place finish at WC.