Betsy Clifford

golden leaf icon for Hall of Fame


When Canada’s Betsy Clifford made her Olympic debut in alpine skiing at Grenoble 1968 she was the youngest Canadian Olympic athlete ever to compete, at age 14. Finishing 23rd in the downhill, Clifford did not finish the slalom and was disqualified in the giant slalom. At Innsbruck 1976, she finished 22nd twice (giant slalom, downhill, did not finish the slalom).

Between her Olympic appearances, Clifford became the youngest skier to ever win a world title, capturing giant slalom gold in 1970 in Italy (at 16), and four years later she won the downhill silver medal in 1974. Along with three World Cup victories (two in slalom, one in giant slalom) and seven other career podium finishes, Clifford also captured eight Canadian giant slalom titles. 

Raised on the slopes of her father’s Camp Fortune ski area, Clifford began skiing at the age five. By 12, she was the national junior champion and by 13, the senior national champion. Her uncle Harvey Clifford also represented Canada at St. Mortiz 1948 in alpine skiing.

Clifford was awarded the John Semmelink Memorial Award given by the Canadian Ski Association to a skier who, through sportsmanship, conduct and ability, best represents Canada in international competition. From 1968-76, she was voted Ottawa’s Outstanding Skier and in 1970 and 1971, Clifford was voted Athlete of the Year for the City of Ottawa. 

Clifford was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1970 and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1971. She was also nominated to the American National Ski Hall of Fame in 1978, Canadian Ski Museum Honor Roll (Canadian Ski Hall of Fame) in 1982, Greater Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, Les Panthéon des sports de l’Outaouais and Laurentian Ski Hall of Fame in 1995. 

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
1968 Grenoble Skiing - Alpine Downhill - Women23
1968 Grenoble Skiing - Alpine Giant Slalom - WomenDSQ
1968 Grenoble Skiing - Alpine Slalom - WomenDNF
1976 Innsbruck Skiing - Alpine Downhill - Women22
1976 Innsbruck Skiing - Alpine Giant Slalom - Women22
1976 Innsbruck Skiing - Alpine Slalom - WomenDNF