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Growing up in Thunder Bay in a skiing family, this future Olympian took to the snow at a young age. A talented skier in both cross-country and ski jumping, the sport of Nordic combined was perfectly suited to him and in no time at all he was bringing home the hardware. Claiming provincial honours in the early 1990s, he soon found himself competing against the best in the world representing Canada at the 1997 World Junior Nordic Ski Championships.

With the closure of Big Thunder he focused his attention on cross-country ski racing. Joining Big Thunder Nordic Ski Club, he claimed two medals in the juvenile division at his very first national competition. Advancing to the Canadian National Junior Team he represented Canada at two World Junior Ski Championships, where his 11th place finish in the sprints in 2003 was one of the best-ever by a Canadian male. The 2003 Canadian overall junior champion, he won gold in the sprints at the 2003 Canada Winter Games and helped Ontario earn a bronze medal in the team event.

His success in the junior ranks quickly earned him a spot on the Canadian National Senior Team where he represented Canada with distinction at races around the world. Ranked in the top five in Nor-Am distance races and a top three sprinter, he accumulated a number of top 10 finishes during his time on the senior squad. The 2005 Canadian sprint champion, that same year he put in an impressive 25th place finish in his World Cup debut and a 13th place showing in a World Cup Team Sprint race. Earning a spot on the 2006 Canadian Olympic Cross-Country Ski Team, he entered the history books as the first northwestern Ontario born athlete to achieve such a goal. Travelling to Turin he put in a strong performance in the sprint qualifying race coming up just two spots shy of advancing to the finals. Competing in the team 4 x 10 km relay, he helped Canada earn an 11th place finish.

Over the next four years, he made it onto more Nor-Am Cup and US Super Tour podiums and consistently placed in the top 20 in World Cup races, finishing 13th overall in sprints in 2007. The 2009 Canadian sprint champion, he represented Canada at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships. Rounding out his close to two decades of competitive skiing by claiming a silver medal at the 2010 Canadian championships, this exceptional athlete spent time giving back to his sport by coaching young skiers and is currently pursuing a medical degree at the University of Calgary.

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

Sean Crooks

Nordic Skiing
Thunder Bay
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