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Beckie Scott began cross-country skiing in her hometown of Vermilion, Alberta when she was only four years old. Devoting herself to the physically demanding sport from a young age, she encountered adversity early in her competitive career. After placing a disappointing 45th in the 10 km freestyle event at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, she undertook a more demanding training program and resolved to work harder than ever to return to the Olympic stage. Better prepared, she captured bronze in the 5 km free pursuit at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, becoming the first Canadian and first North American woman ever to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing.
Elated with her groundbreaking achievement, Beckie Scott learned shortly afterward that the Russian skiers who captured gold and silver in the same event had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Already a passionate anti-doping activist, Beckie had recently challenged the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) for neglecting widespread doping in competitive cross-country skiing. In 2002 she took her case to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing athletes caught doping during Olympic competition should be disqualified and stripped of any medals they had won.
After nearly two years of arbitration, on December 18, 2003,Beckie Scott was finally awarded the gold medal for the race she had rightfully won in Salt Lake City . Having devoted her life to becoming an elite contender in her sport through sheer hard work and dedication, Beckie hoped her efforts would ensure honest athletes achieved the results they deserved in international competition. In 2005 she continued to break new ground as a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency's first athlete committee, giving competitors more agency to address corruption and cheating. Balancing courage and grit with compassion and accountability, Beckie Scott's courageous defense of the basic principles of sportsmanship has defined her legacy as powerfully as her achievements on the field of play.
Beckie Scott wore this race bib when she finished third in the five km pursuit at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. She showed her courage and integrity when she challenged the idea that her sport was drug free and was vindicated when the two competitors ahead of her were caught for drug use and stripped of their medals. Her continuing effort to make all sports accountable and to allow athletes to compete in a drug-free arena has earned her the respect of the sport community.
Collection: Private Collection: Beckie Scott
Beckie Scott is known as for her competitive spirit and her self-respect, refusing to compromise her personal integrity. She was presented with the gold medal from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games at a special ceremony in Vancouver in 2003. Beckie has continued to show her strong sense of community and leadership by serving as a member of both the Athletes' Commission for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Athlete Committee.
Collection: CP PHOTO/Chris Bolin
The story of Beckie Scott's silver medal with teammate Sara Renner at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino is a remarkable one. Sara was racing on course when her ski pole snapped. The Norwegian coach Bjørner Håkensmoen handed her a spare one. Although the new pole was 12 cm too long, Sara was able to use it and maintain contact with the lead group until she could hand off to Beckie who raced to the silver medal. The Norwegian coach was lauded by fans across Canada for his fair play.
Collection: CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn
Beckie Scott started cross country skiing at the age of five in her local Jackrabbit League. Named after Canadian cross country ski legend Jackrabbit Johannsen, this program is designed to teach young skiers the skills required to ski and compete. Beckie exemplifies the qualities that Jackrabbit himself endorsed - to enjoy life to the fullest, to respect the environment, to exercise and keep the body healthy.
Collection: Canada's Sports Hall of Fame