Beckie Scott Wins John Semmelink Award for Athletic Excellence
By Amanda Fortier, CCC Media Relations
The long wait is finally over. Last month marked 14 years since the last national cross-country ski team member was honored with the prestigious John Semmelink award. First presented in 1962, the award was created in memory of John Semmelink who lost his life while representing the Association in the Arlberg-Kandahar ski race on February 7, 1959 in Garmisch-Partinkirchen, Germany. The John Semmelink Memorial Award is presented annually by the Canadian Ski and Snowboard Association in recognition of the athlete who, through sportsmanship, conduct and ability, best represents Canada in international competition.
On November 12, at the Canadian Ski and Snowboard Association’s Annual Hall of Fame Awards Banquet in Camp Fortune, Quebec, Beckie Scott will be recognized for winning the highest order the CSSA confers. Scott will be unable to attend the ceremony, due to the World Cup racing schedule in Europe, but will officially accept her award this spring.
Granted to the athlete who best represents Canada internationally in conduct and ability, Scott is a most worthy recipient. Last February at the Winter Olympics in Soldier Hollow, Beckie made history when she crossed the finish line third in the pursuit race. Scott became the first female cross-country skier in North America to medal at the Olympics. Up until this point the Canadian public were largely unaware of this racer’s exceptional talent. Having placed consistently in the top 10-15 at World Cup races over the last two seasons, Scott has time and again proven herself a mighty international competitor. Her exceptional sprinting abilities have earned her 2 individual World Cup medals, as well as a World Cup relay medal.
Aside from her athletic prowess, Beckie is an avid supporter of drug-free sport. During the 2000-01 ski season Scott spear-headed a petition to form an independent drug-testing body at all Word Cup competitions. Beckie has also been recognized for her charitable endeavours. Challenging her fellow racers to donate their prize money from the Continental Cup series in Silver Star last November, the athletes raised hundreds of dollars for the UNICEF project in Afghanistan.
Coach Dave Wood, who nominated Scott, is thrilled his athlete is being recognized for her hard work. " Beckie is the ideal recipient for such an honour. She is a highly motivated and dedicated person. This is shown in the performance she delivers on the racetrack and the work she does off. She promotes the ideals of fair play and the benefits of sport with the same enthusiasm she competes with."
The John Semmelink award was first presented in 1962 and has since been granted to three other internationally acclaimed cross-country skiers. The Firth sisters both won in 1971-72, and Pierre Harvey has repeatedly been recognized in 1984-95, 1986-87, and 1987-88 (tied with Nicholas Fontaine and Jean-Luc Brassard for most wins).