Seventeen-year old Anne Heggtveit made her Olympic debut at Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 leaving with three top-30 finishes, loads of experience, and inspiration from Lucile Wheeler’s downhill bronze. In four years’ time at Squaw Valley 1960, Heggtveit struggled in her first two events finishing 12th in both the downhill and giant slalom. She was the only skier in the slalom race who did not survey the course the day before, choosing to sleep instead. After the first run, Heggtveit lead the slalom event by 1.5 seconds and was in second after the second run, ultimately destroying the field by 3.3 seconds in what was the largest margin of victory ever recorded in the event and winning Canada’s first ever gold medal in alpine skiing.
Since the Winter Olympics doubles as the World Championships in Olympic years, Heggtveit’s Olympic results made her the first non-European to win the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) slalom and combined overall world titles (with her 12th’s from her downhill and giant slalom). She left Squaw Valley with three global titles. Her hometown of Ottawa had a welcome home parade for her, as they had 12 years prior when eight-year-old Heggtveit sat on her father’s shoulders watching Olympic champion figure skater Barbara Ann Scott’s welcome home parade.
Born into a ski family, at the age of two Heggtveit was introduced to skiing by her father, 1932 Olympic cross country skier Halvor Heggtveit. She learned to ski in the Gatineau Hills, northwest of Ottawa, and was such a prodigy, by seven she won her first ladies seniors race and was a forerunner for an international race in Lake Placid. Heggtveit gained serious international attention in 1954, when at age 15 when she became the youngest winner of the Holmenkollen Giant Slalom race in Norway.
Heggtveit retired after her Olympic success and was one of the first Canadian athletes to secure an advertising contract. While doing an appearance for Dupont of Canada she met her husband Ross Hamilton. They married in 1961, had two children and eventually settled in Vermont where Heggtveit ran the learn-to-ski program at Jay Peak ski resort for six years. At the age of 50, Heggtveit went back to university attending Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont, and with the typical competitive spirit of an Olympian, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Heggtveit won the 1960 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete. An Olympic flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony at Calgary 1988, Heggtveit was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1960, Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1971, made a member of the Order of Canada in 1976, and was in the first group of inductees at the founding of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1982.
|1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo||Skiing - Alpine||Downhill - Women||22|
|1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo||Skiing - Alpine||Giant Slalom - Women||29|
|1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo||Skiing - Alpine||Slalom - Women||30|
|1960 Squaw Valley||Skiing - Alpine||Downhill - Women||12|
|1960 Squaw Valley||Skiing - Alpine||Giant Slalom - Women||12|
|1960 Squaw Valley||Skiing - Alpine||Slalom - Women||Gold|