Tribute to Joan Groothuysen- 1976 & 1980 Olympian

    May 17, 2018

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    On behalf of the entire Nordic community, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada would like to extend its
    deepest condolences to Joan Groothuysen's family, friends and numerous associates within our ski community following her passing earlier this month.

    Joan was a very successful junior skier winning several Canadian and also US National Championships races in the mid 70’s. Joan was also a very successful distance runner and represented Canada at the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games in nordic skiing. Her best result was 27th in the 5k in 1980, ahead of Canadian legends Sharon and Shirley Firth. She was also a member of the relay teams that finished 7th and 8th respectively in ‘76 and ‘80. A resident of many ski communities, including Ottawa, Inuvik and Edmonton. Joan was an Olympian, in achievement and in spirit and will be missed tremendously.

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    Joan Elizabeth Groothuysen


    Ottawa, September 6, 1957 – Edmonton, May 7, 2018

    Joan was an Olympian, in achievement and in spirit. She was a world-class Nordic skier who represented Canada at Innsbruck (1976), Lake Placid (1980), and at numerous World Cups and World Championships. But she defined herself through her relationships, lovingly. She trained, competed and took on the many challenges in her life with unyielding determination. But she was gentle and gracious with loved ones and casual friends alike.

    She embodied the Olympic motto – “faster, higher, stronger” – but rarely talked about her brilliant athletic career. She excelled at everything else she did too: orthodontic technician, home renovator and seamstress, textile and jewelry artisan. But she made everyone around her feel better about themselves. She was quiet, and somewhat private, but shared of herself willingly and was loved and admired by many.

    Cancer took her down hard and fast, even though she lived a simple and healthy life. She suffered, but continued bravely, striving each day to the end to be a better person. If you’re ever on the trails around Edmonton, and you see a “train” of skiers pushing hard, think of Joan, because they’re chasing her spirit. She was an Olympian!

    Online tribute