Hall of Famer
One of Canada’s best-ever downhill racers, Laurie Graham was an unstoppable force on the World Cup for nearly a decade (1978-1988).
The three-time Olympian – Lake Placid 1980, Sarajevo 1984 and Calgary 1988 – Graham had six World Cup victories (five in downhill, one in super-G), 34 top-10 downhill finishes and won three national titles. She was the first North American woman to win a super-G World Cup title, and the first Canadian to win on home soil at the first World Cup downhill held in Canada at Mont Tremblant, Québec.
Laurie Graham began skiing at the age of five and competing by the age of 10 on the slopes near Collingwood. Her first international event was at the age of 12 at Mont Ste Marie, Québec, and her first World Cup race was in 1977, finishing 22nd in the combined. Graham was a successful student at the prestigious University of Toronto Schools (UTS), where her father had attended, but dropped out in grade 12 to concentrate on becoming a full-time ski racer.
Known for her exceptional sportsmanship and leadership skills, Graham was a mentor to her younger teammates as she neared the end of her career, retiring in 1988. She was once married to Sarajevo 1984 bobsledder Canadian Clarke Flynn, had children and pursued her love of horses.
Appointed a C.M. (Member) of the Order of Canada on July 11, 1998, her citation noted, in part, that “… she served gracefully as an unofficial ambassador to the sports world and as a much-respected role model and mentor to younger athletes.”
Graham was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1986 and made a member of the Order of Canada in 1988. She was inducted to the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1991, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2010, and Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
- 1979 – 3rd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Val d’Isere, France
- 1980 – At Altenmarkt, Austria (December 1980)
- 1981 – 3rd place, Canadian National Championships, Downhill
- 1982 – 3rd place FIS World Ski Championships, Downhill, Schladming, Austria
- 1982 – Received Sport Excellence Award from the Government of Canada at the 1982 Tribute to the Champions
- 1983 – 1st place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Mont Tremblant, the first women’s World Cup downhill in Canadian (March 5, 1983)
- 1983 – Awarded 1983 Canadian Alpine Woman Skier of the Year (by Ski Racing International Journal)
- 1984 – 1st place FIS World Cup, Super G, Puy Ste Vincent, France
- 1985 – 1st place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Val d’Isere, France
- 1985 – 2nd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Val d’Isere, France
- 1985 –1st place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Banff
- 1985 – 3rd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Banff, Canada
- 1986 – 1st place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Val d’Isere, France
- 1986 – 1st place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Crans Montana, Switzerland
- 1986 – 2nd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Vail, USA
- 1986 – 3rd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Furano, Japan
- 1986 – 3rd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Puy Ste Vincent, France
- 1986 – 3rd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Badgastein, Austria
- 1986 – Named Canadian Female Athlete of the Year
- 1987 – 2nd place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Vail, USA
- 1987 – 2nd place FIS World Cup Downhill, Calgary, Canada
- 1987 – 4th place FIS World Cup, Downhill, Val d’Isère, France
- 1988 – 5th place Olympic Winter Games, Downhill, Calgary, Canada
- 1988 – 13th place Olympic Winter Games, Super G, Calgary, Canada
Note: The ski information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments. Copyright © 2023, Canadian Ski Museum. For Personal/Educational use only. All Rights Reserved.
Laurie Graham at Husky World Cup Downhill event at Nakiska (Mt. Allan), Alberta, on March 7, 1987. Alpine Canada Alpin / Alec Pytlowany.
1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, AB – Laurie Graham. Calgary Herald.
Women’s National Alpine Ski Team c. 1985 [back]: Laurie Graham, Andréa Bédard, Karen Stemmle, Karen Percy [front]: Kerrin Lee, Liisa Savijarvi, Diana Haight. Alpine Canada Alpin.
Women’s National Alpine Ski Team c. 1980 [top row]: Lynda Robbins, Laurie Graham, Dianne Lehodey [bottom row]: Gerry Sorensen, Diana Haight, Shanne Leavitt. Alpine Canada Alpin.
National Alpine Ski Team 1984-85 [top row]: Andréa Bédard, Laurie Graham, Diana Haight, Josée Lacasse [bottom row]: Kerrin Lee, Karen Percy, Liisa Savijarvi, Karen Stemmle. Alpine Canada Alpin.
National Alpine Ski Team 1985-86 [top row]: Todd Brooker, ?, Mike Tommy, Derek Thussler, Gary Athans, Alain Villiard, Paul Boivin, Don Stevens, Don Lyon (coach), Currie Chapman (coach), Max Gartner (coach), Carl Petersen (Fitness Co-ordinator) [2nd row]: Piotr Jelen (coach), Germain Barrette (coach), Bruce Henry (coach), ?, Felix Belczyk, Rob Boyd, Istvan Balyi, Glenn Wurtele [3rd row]: Jim Kirby, Andréa Bédard, Jim Read, Chris Kent, Brian Stemmle, Dan Moar, Chris McIver, Diana Haight, Scott Shaver [4th row]: Karen Stemmle, Laurie Graham, Kerrin Lee Gartner, Liisa Savijarvi, Kellie Casey, Josée Lacasse, Karen Percy. Alpine Canada Alpin.
National Alpine Ski Team 1986 [back row]: Glenn Wurtele (coach), Don Stevens, Rob Boyd, Todd Brooker, Mike Tommy, Carl Pettersen (fitness co-ordinator) [middle row]: Diana Haight, Andréa Bédard, Felix Belczyk, Chris Kent, Jim Read, Brian Stemmle, Kellie Casey [bottom row]: Karen Percy, Josée Lacasse, Laurie Graham, Karen Stemmle, Liisa Savijarvi. Alpine Canada Alpin.
National Alpine Ski Team 1987-88 [top row]: Andréa Bédard, Kellie Casey, Nancy Gee [bottom row]: Laurie Graham, Kendra Kobelka, Josée Lacasse. Alpine Canada Alpin.
National Alpine Ski Team c. 1979 [top row]: Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin, Dave Murray [bottom row]: Kathy Kreiner, Laurie Graham, Loni Klettl. Studio Impact.
Judy Crawford (left) and Laurie Graham (right) at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Valberg Imaging – Andrea Cardin.
1985 Canadian Alpine Skiing Championships Recap (Speed Events) | Vintage Ski Video
Todd Brooker, Laurie Graham, Karen Stemmle and Lisa Savijarvi