OTTAWA – Today, Canada Post recognizes three pioneers of winter sports by issuing a set of three stamps that embodies the talent, dedication and grace that each athlete brought to their respective sport.
Freestyle skier Sarah Burke, curler Sandra Schmirler and figure skater Barbara Ann Scott set themselves apart during their careers. Each athlete changed the face of her sport in Canada – and around the world – and left an indelible mark in the memories of Canadians.
“It’s difficult to think of curling, figure skating and freestyle skiing without these incredible athletes being top of mind,” says the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. “Each of these women reached the highest levels of athletic accomplishment and these stamps recognize their significant contributions to their sports.”
“As Canadians we define ourselves very much by our winter sports and these women have inspired generations,” says Deepak Chopra, Canada Post President and CEO. “The legacy that these three pioneers bring to their sports is now captured on these stamps for everyone to enjoy.”
Sarah Burke (born in 1982 – Barrie, Ont.) was a groundbreaking freestyle skier, whose remarkable accomplishments on the ski hill helped elevate her sport to where it is today. Burke won four gold medals at the Winter X Games, was named female skier of the year by ESPN in 2001 and was voted best female action sports athlete at the 2007 ESPY awards. She was also the first female skier to land a 1,080-degree spin (three full rotations) in competition.
A discipline of freestyle skiing that Sarah Burke helped put on the map – halfpipe skiing – is set to make its Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia. Burke’s lobbying on behalf of the sport helped get halfpipe skiing to the ultimate stage. Burke’s life was tragically cut short in January 2012, when she succumbed to injuries suffered while training in Utah.
Sandra Schmirler (born in 1963 – Biggar, Sask.) skipped one of the most successful curling teams in Canadian history. Along with teammates Jan Betker, Joan McCusker and Marcia Gudereit, she won three Canadian and three world championships between 1993 and 1997. In 1998, Schmirler and her team became Canada’s first-ever Olympic gold medallists in curling.
Schmirler is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the World Curling Federation Hall of Fame, and posthumously received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. She passed away in 2000 after a battle with cancer. Her legacy continues through the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, which raises funds for potentially life-saving equipment for premature and critically ill babies.
Barbara Ann Scott
Barbara Ann Scott (born in 1928 – Ottawa) became the first Canadian woman to win Olympic gold for singles figure skating. No other female Canadian skater has matched that accomplishment in the 66 years since the St. Moritz 1948 Olympic Winter Games.
However, her awards and accolades go well beyond that gold medal. In addition to numerous national championships, Scott also won world, North American and European championships. Off the ice, she was named to the Order of Canada and Canada’s Walk of Fame, and was inducted in several sports halls of fame for her achievements.
Barbara Ann Scott, who was known as “Canada’s Sweetheart,” passed away in September 2012.
About the stamps
The Pioneers of Winter Sports stamps measure 26 mm x 32 mm and are available in booklets of 10 stamps. The souvenir sheet – which features all three stamps – measures 126 mm x 90 mm. The Official First Day Covers bear cancellation sites of Ottawa (Barbara Ann Scott); Biggar, Saskatchewan (Sandra Schmirler); and Whistler, B.C. (Sarah Burke). The stamps were illustrated by Louis Hébert, designed by Montreal’s Paprika and printed by Lowe-Martin. The stamps featuring Sandra Schmirler and Sarah Burke use lithography in seven colours, while the Barbara Ann Scott stamp uses six-colour lithography.
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