SLAM!Sports
February 17, 2006
Kathy Kreiner: 1964 - Innsbruck, Austria
By GEORGE GROSS -- Sun Media


Innsbruck, Austria, had not been kind to Canada in the Olympic Games. In 1964, for instance, the International Ice Hockey Federation under the late Bunny Ahearne, stole the bronze medal from Canada, using all kinds of phony goal average machinations and permutations.

So when they held the Olympics again in Innsbruck in 1976, Canadians didn't seem to have much hope. Certainly not in women's skiing with German and Austrian women dominating the sport.

Canadian journalists were anything but interested in the outcome of the ski race. Only one showed up at the ski hill, the rest watched it on television in the press restaurant and one even went home, convinced Canadian women had no chance.

How wrong they all were! Kathy Kreiner, the daughter of an Ontario physician refused to bow to the German, French and Austrian girls in the giant slalom and covered the distance in the fastest time, winning the gold medal. She shocked the favoured Rosi Mittermaier of Germany and Danielle Debernard of France, the silver and bronze medallists respectively.

At 18 years old, it was a fabulous achievement and the realization of a girlhood dream. However, Kreiner took her victory one step further utilizing her own experience to touch others. Today, three decades later, Kreiner is a sports psychologist who preaches the mantra that dreams can come true not only for elite athletes but for everyone in their normal lives. One of her her favourite expressions is "Olympic gold may not be for everyone, but excellence is."

Kreiner had both and showed Canadians everywhere.
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