In this “Where are they now?” series, Olympic.ca gives you a glimpse at what’s new in the lives of some great Team Canada Olympians since they said goodbye to their careers as athletes.
One of the Crazy Canucks, Steve Podborski had an exceptional career representing Canada and helped pave the way for future generations of alpine skiers.
While the first North American to win an Olympic downhill medal is no longer speeding down slopes professionally, he still has deep ties to sport as he tries to help all Canadians be safer from injuries.
In 1982, two years after his Olympic breakthrough and just after he became the first North American to win the overall World Cup title in the downhill, Podborski was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Retiring following the 1984 Olympic Winter Games, he would be inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and with his fellow Crazy Canucks Ken Read, Dave Irwin and Dave Murray to Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2006.
Podborski’s involvement in the Olympic movement continued in many different roles. He was a television commentator for American broadcasters CBS and NBC from Nagano 1998 to Turin 2006, covering various sports including freestyle skiing, snowboarding, cycling and taekwondo. He served as the Executive Director of the Bid Committee for Vancouver 2010 and was then one of Team Canada’s Assistant Chefs de Mission for the home Games. Four years later, he was Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 where his mentorship and support helped Canada finish in the top three for gold medals.
Among the many great things Podborski has done throughout his career is his work with Canada’s national injury prevention charity, Parachute, where he was CEO and President from 2017 to 2019. Using his expertise as a high-performance athlete, Podborski and Parachute’s goal is to create a safer Canada by preventing serious and fatal injuries through evidence-based solutions that advocate and educate. When Podborski joined Parachute, he penned a CBC sports story explaining his next steps.
“I was the guy who hurled himself down mountains that fewer than a dozen people could race. But I was also the guy who wanted to win, and you can’t win when you fall and get hurt,” he said. “I was an early, dedicated fan of preventing injury, especially my own.”
Now a member of Parachute’s Board of Directors, he also volunteers on the Board for the Canadian Olympic Foundation and the Canadian Snowsports Association. Perhaps you’ve seen him on TV speaking about the importance of checking for concussions after sports accidents. If you peruse his Twitter, you’ll find he shares lots of great information about staying safer from injuries both at home and when out in the world.
Follow Steve’s journey: