Maelle Ricker became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic gold medal at a home Games at Vancouver 2010. That was just a few weeks after appearing on the cover of The OLYMPIC ISSUE of IMPACT. A coincidence? We think not.
As IMPACT celebrates its 25th Anniversary we are honouring athletes from our past. Few are more accomplished, or decorated, than Maelle Ricker, a Squamish woman who has been around in the sport almost as long as IMPACT has been thrilling readers. A veteran of four Olympic Games, Ricker was first selected to the national team as an 18 year-old in 1996.
She competed in Nagano in the halfpipe, injury kept her out of the Salt Lake City Games and a crash in the snowboard cross final at Turin left her off the podium and in the hospital. She competed in Sochi, despite a bad wrist injury and crashed out in the qualifying runs.
An X-Games champion in 1999 and 2006 and twice winner of the Crystal Globe as Overall World Cup snowboard cross champion, Vancouver 2010 was Ricker’s crowning glory. On the twists and turns of Cypress Mountain, Ricker helped start a wave of 26 Olympic medals for Canada.
Ricker won the world championship in 2013, before announcing her retirement in November at age 36. “Being an athlete on the Canadian Snowboard Team has been a dream come true for me. We have succeeded through the big days of training, the heartbreak of injury, and the taste of victory,” she says. “I still have every intention of finding a way to integrate with the team and be a positive impact with the younger generation.”