Hall of Fame Class of 2003
Diann Roffe grew up skiing in her hometown of Williamson near Rochester, New York, at Brantling Ski Center, an area with a 240-foot vertical drop. Yet, Diann Roffe became known for her knack of rising to the top at the international level. “I like to think I’m a big-event performer,” she says – and she was.
In 1984, at 16, Roffe became the first U.S. competitor to medal in a World Junior Championships, winning the silver in giant slalom. A year later, at 17, she amazed the world by winning the F.I.S. World Championships giant slalom in Bormio, Italy.
Five weeks later, she won the World Cup GS at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, New York. Four days later, still just 17, she was second in the final World Cup GS of the 1985 season at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.
Diann injured her knee in 1986, had a slow 1987 season and was considering retirement. “But I decided to give myself one more chance. I’d ski in the Olympic season and see what happened.” She skied at the 1988 Calgary Olympics and had an injury free season so she decided to keep on going. In 1991, she tore the ACL in her left knee during the season but her knee rebounded well enough for her to enter the 1992 Olympics at Albertville.
At Albertville, Roffe tied for the 1992 Olympic silver medal in the giant slalom in Meribel. There were only two years to the next Olympics (thanks to the rearrangement of the Winter Olympic years) so she decided to stay on. The next Olympics fell at Lillehammer, Norway in 1994. There, at 26, she won the prize of prizes, an Olympic gold in Super-G on Kvitfjell. At the end of that glorious season, she won the World Cup Super-G at Vail in the last race of the winter and the last in her career.
Roffe was widely admired as a delightful, no-excuses team member. She was always there for the U.S. Ski Team, for the media and for casual and more-than-casual fans. There was never the hint of the star trip that too often goes with her level of success. Great team member. Great racer. Great person. Dynamite role model. No need to overstate the case. Diann’s life speaks for her. She is a slam-dunk for one of those heroes’ pedestals in American ski racing. She easily qualifies for a hero’s wreath in the annals of American ski racing.
Diann Roffe was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 2003.
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