Anne Heggtveit Hamilton
Hall of Fame Class of 1976
Anne Heggtveit’s Gold Medal in the Olympic Slalom at Squaw Valley was among the principal reasons the 8th Winter Games were an unqualified success for North American ski sport. She won the Olympic Slalom by a margin of 3.3 seconds over Silver Medalist, Betsy Snite of the U.S.A. and a full seven seconds ahead of Bronze Medalist, Barbi Henneberger of Germany.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, Dorothy Anne Heggtveit won her first race at seven years of age. This was a ladies’ senior and combined event at Wakefield, Quebec. At nine, she placed second in the Central Canadian Championships; at ten, she placed second in Slalom and Combined; at 13, she had won all local senior ladies’ events and in 1953, at 14 years of age, she was selected a member of the Canadian team to be sent to Europe for training.
In Norway, just two weeks after her 15th birthday, Anne won the Holmenkollen Giant Slalom, competing against the world’s top skiers. The same season she placed ninth in the World Downhill at Aare, Sweden and was seventh in the slalom. A week later at the Arlberg-Kandahar, she was fifth in slalom.
On January 31, 1955, Anne suffered a bad fracture of the left leg while practicing slalom at Mt. Tremblant and was in a cast for six months. However, in 1956, still handicapped by her injury, she placed fifteenth in the combined at the Cortina Olympics and placed ninth (the top North American) in the Arlberg-Kandahar at Sestriere, Italy.
Anne remained in North America for the 1957 season, winning every race she entered in Canada and the U.S.A. only to sprain an ankle at Aspen, Colorado while training for the U.S. Nationals and was out for the balance of the season. Overseas again in 1958 for the F.I.S. World Championships, Anne placed sixth in combined scoring and went on to take 3rd place in the Holmenkollen. The following winter, Anne wound up her European tour by winning the St.Moritz White Ribbon tournament and the Arlberg-Kandahar. She then returned to Canada and won all three events of the Quebec-Kandahar and the Canadian Alpine Championships.
Rated among the Gold Medal favorites for the 1960 Olympics, Anne suffered a severe cut by a shovel wielded by a workman while practicing at Grindenwald. This set her back in the early events of the European races. However, after a week’s rest at home, she won the U.S. National Slalom and Giant Slalom Championships at Alta, Utah and swept three events of the Roch Cup at Aspen, Colorado. Then Anne went to Squaw Valley and won the Olympic and F.I.S. Gold Medals for slalom and the F.I.S. Gold Medal for alpine combined, becoming ranked as the top alpine skier of 1960.
Anne Heggtveit was the first non-European to win the F.I.S. Gold Medal for alpine combined as well as the Arlberg-Kandahar and she was the first Canadian to win an Olympic Gold Medal in skiing. She was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Outstanding Athlete of 1960
Becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist had long been Anne’s major goal. She recalls having watched Canada’s Barbara Ann Scott come home to Ottawa as the Figure Skating Olympic Gold Medalist of 1948: “If I had to pick the greatest influence of my ski career, I would say it was the day I watched Barbara Ann Scott come home to Ottawa. I was nine. We had a school holiday and all the kid from our class were taken to see Barbara ride into town. I can remember looking up at her in the car and vowing to myself; ‘This is it; this is what I want to be; this is what I want to do!’ I never deviated from that.”
Anne’s retirement from ski racing became a fact on October 1, 1960 when she told a Toronto Globe reporter: “I know I’m going to miss a lot. The training. The excitement of the races. The friends I made on the ski circuit. But I had to face realities, you know. You can’t go on forever in competitive athletics. And particularly skiing.”
“Skiing,” she continued, “is more than a sport. It’s a way of life. At least it is for me. In skiing you’re always working toward that one perfect mental and physical peak. You see, there was always a big race to win every year I was competing. The Arlberg-Kandahar was a goal. The Olympics were a goal.”
Anne Heggtveit Hamilton was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1976.
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