Lauren, born in 1981 in Calgary, came into the world missing her legs below the knee and left arm below the elbow. She never saw herself as having any disability and her mother recounts a story that is testament to her daughter’s tenacity. Lauren came home from school one day and without telling anyone went down into the basement and wouldn’t leave until she’d taught herself how to skip rope.
She started skiing in Whitefish, Montana on family ski holidays at the age of four and began competitive racing with the Alberta Disabled Ski Team when she was just fourteen. In 1999, she moved to Victoria to attend university and her remarkable success story really got started.
Lauren was a member of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team (CPAST) from 1998 until her retirement after the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. She represented Canada at the 2002 and the 2006 Paralympic Games winning three gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
She was named Top Female Athlete in the 2002 games. In 2010, with the Paralympics in Vancouver, she was in top form and by now had accumulated over fifty World Cup medals, eight world championship titles, and was named the 2006 International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Year. She had also completed her degree (Bachelor of Engineering with Distinction) at UVIC and taken a job with BC Hydro as an electrical engineer.
She was Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian of all-time going into the 2010 Paralympics. At those Games in Vancouver, Lauren became the first Canadian winter Paralympian to win five gold medals at a single Games. She didn’t just win her events; she dominated, winning the Super Combined, Downhill, Super G, Slalom, and Giant Slalom by a combined thirty-five seconds. For her stunning accomplishment she was named Canada's flag bearer for the closing ceremonies.
The Globe and Mail named Lauren among Canadian sport’s “Power 50” in February 2011 and British Columbian’s named Lauren “BC’s best” in a public online vote for Sport BC’s 2010 Best of BC Award. Lauren was also named one of the most influential women of 2010 by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Advancement (CAAWS) and was named by the Vancouver Sun in BC’s “Top 100 Women of Influence of 2010.”
A year after retiring, Lauren’s signal achievements were recognized with induction into the Alberta, British Columbia, and Canadian Sport Halls of Fame. In 2012 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Paralympic Sport. Lauren will always be known as Canada’s Paralympic Winter Games “Golden Girl.”
Lauren currently sits as a Board Member for ViaSport - a non-profit agency leading the transformation of amateur sport in BC.
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