Hall of Famer
Karolina Wisniewska earned the unique distinction of becoming the first Canadian alpine skiing athlete in either the Paralympic or Olympic Winter Games to win four-medals at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This effort exceeded an earlier superb performance at the 1998 Nagano, Japan, Paralympic Games where she won two-medals.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Karolina was a member of Canada’s Disabled Alpine Ski Team (CDAST) from 1995 until 2004. She learned to ski at the age of five as a form of physiotherapy for the cerebral palsy affecting her lower body. By the age of 6 she was racing with the Sunshine Ski Club in Banff, Alberta. For many years, she raced against able-bodied competitors before becoming a member of the Alberta Disabled Alpine Team in 1994 and the CDAST a year later.
A competitor in all four alpine disciplines – downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom – her record in World Cup and world championships is equally impressive. At the beginning of her career, in 1996, she became the world champion in super-G in Lech, Austria; and near the end of her career she won the overall World Cup title for the 2002-03 season. She was named CDAST Athlete of the Year at Alpine Canada’s Annual Awards Banquet in 2003.
In 2006, Karolina was on the Canadian mission staff at the Paralympic Winter Games in Torino in the role of athlete services. After retiring, Karolina worked at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as the Federal Secretariat in Vancouver.
Karolina Wisniewska had a distinguished career as one of the best-ever Canadian disabled athletes, paving the path for continued success for Canadian ski racers which continues today.
- 1996: World Champion, super-G, Lech, Austria; Silver medal, GS, World Championships, Lech, Austria
- 1997: Gold medal, super-G and GS, World Cup Finals, Pra-Loup, France
- 1998: Silver medal, super-G, Paralympic Games, Nagano, Japan; Silver medal, GS, Paralympic Games, Nagano, Japan
- 1999: 2nd Overall – World Cup overall standings.
- 2000: Silver medal, super-G, World Championships, Anzere, Switzerland; Silver medal, GS, World Championships, Anzere, Switzerland; World Cup Champion: downhill overall standings
- 2001: Bronze medal, GS, World Cup Finals, Kimberley, BC; 3rd overall – World Cup 2002: Silver medal, slalom, Paralympic Games, Salt Lake City, Utah; Silver medal, GS, Paralympic Games, Salt Lake City, USA; Bronze medal, super-G and downhill, Paralympic Games, Salt Lake City, USA
- 2003: Overall World Cup champion
Note: The information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments. Copyright © 2023, Canadian Ski Museum & Hall of Fame. For Personal/Educational use only. All rights reserved.
Max Gartner, Bjorger Pettersen, Nicolas Fontaine, Karolina Wisniewska, Edi Podivinsky – 2007 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Valberg Imaging / Andrea Cardin.