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Bill Keenan was one of those kids that excelled in whatever sport he took part in, and the higher and faster he could go, the happier he was. Growing up in Port Arthur, he could be found winning races in the pool, helping lead the Hammarskjold High School Vikings to success in football, skiing, and gymnastics, and impressing campers at Shebandowan Lake with his water-skiing abilities and the innovative ramp he built to practice his aerial skiing maneuvers.

It was on the hills of Loch Lomond during the 1970s that he developed his skills in the relatively new sport of freestyle skiing, which at that time included the disciplines of aerial, ballet, and moguls. It was from those early beginnings that he would go on to become a true pioneer in the sport. Taking his talents with him to the University of Calgary, he competed in gymnastics and in freestyle skiing in Alberta.

Named to Canada's National Freestyle Team in 1980 he remained on the squad for seven seasons. Becoming a moguls specialist, he earned Rookie of the Year honours. In 1981 he won his first World Cup moguls event, going on to win nine in total over the course of his illustrious career. Training hard he continued to make his presence known at national competitions, and at events around the world, posting a number of podium finishes. In 1983 he won it all, claiming the World Cup Moguls Overall Championship title.

Retiring from active competition in 1986, he was called upon to serve as a colour commentator for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games which featured freestyle skiing as a demonstration sport. An image of his aerial skiing abilities was used by the Royal Canadian Mint to produce their $20 coin to commemorate freestyle skiing at the Calgary Games. His talents also earned him a stunt skiing spot in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to A Kill.

As one of the pioneers of freestyle skiing, and one of Canada's most successful World Cup moguls skiers, Bill earned entry into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 2001. Throughout his career this exceptional athlete never forgot his roots, travelling back to Thunder Bay on occasion to provide workshops for young skiers. Currently living in Florida, he continues to seek out the snow and remains active in a number of sports such as windsurfing, mountain biking, and until most recently triathlon competitions.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 2015.

Bill Keenan

Freestyle Skiing
Port Arthur
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