A three-time Olympian, Canada’s Laurie Graham finished 11th in the downhill in her Olympic debut at Lake Placid 1980. At Sarajevo 1984, she was 11th in the downhill and 33rd in the giant slalom. It was in front of her hometown at Calgary 1988, where she knew the mountain better than most, where Graham had her all-time best Olympic finish of fifth in the downhill (13th in the super-G).
For over a decade, Graham was Canada’s premier female downhill skier capturing a bronze medal at the 1982 World Championships. In a career that spanned from 1978-88, Graham had six World Cup victories (five in downhill, one in super-G), 34 top-10 downhill finishes and won three national titles. She was the first North American woman to win a super-G World Cup title, and the first Canadian to win on home soil at the first World Cup downhill held in Canada at Mont Tremblant, Québec.
Canada’s most successful skier since Nancy Greene in 1968, Graham grew up in the Ontario village of Inglewood (population 450), the youngest of four children. She lived close to the ski hills of Collingwood where she started skiing at the age of five and began competing in the Nancy Greene Ski League at 10. Her first international event was at the age of 12 at Mont Ste Marie, Québec, and her first World Cup race was in 1977, finishing 22nd in the combined. Graham was a successful student at the prestigious University of Toronto Schools (UTS), where her father had attended, but dropped out in grade 12 to concentrate on becoming a full-time ski racer.
Known for her exceptional sportsmanship and leadership skills, Graham was a mentor to her younger teammates as she neared the end of her career, retiring in 1988. She was once married to Sarajevo 1984 bobsledder Canadian Clarke Flynn, had children and pursued her love of horses.
Graham was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1986 and made a member of the Order of Canada in 1988. She was inducted to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1991, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2010, and Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
|1980 Lake Placid||Skiing - Alpine||Downhill - Women||11|
|1984 Sarajevo||Skiing - Alpine||Downhill - Women||11|
|1984 Sarajevo||Skiing - Alpine||Giant Slalom - Women||33|
|1988 Calgary||Skiing - Alpine||Downhill - Women||5|
|1988 Calgary||Skiing - Alpine||Super-G - Women||13|