Hall of Famer

Laurie Graham

Affiliated Discipline(s): Alpine
Hometown: Inglewood, Ontario / Ottawa, Ontario
Active Career Period: 1978 – 1998
Induction CSHF: 1991
Induction Category: Alpine
Laurie Graham. Courtesy Alpine Canada Alpin.

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.

Career Highlights

  • 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 (1980). Athlete Information Bureau / C80-11715.

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.

1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, AB – Laurie Graham. Calgary Herald.

Opening ceremonies for 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, AB. Laurie Graham (in front, waving to crowd), Kerrin Lee-Gartner (far right). Calgary Herald.

1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games Laurie Graham on training run
1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games Laurie Graham on training run. Photo Bob Johannsen.

1980 Canadian National Championships [L to R]: Gerry Sorensen (2nd), Laurie Graham (1st), Kathy Kreiner (3rd). Canadian Ski Association / Information & Resource Center

Laurie Graham
Laurie Graham. CSHFM Collection.
Laurie Graham 1986
Laurie Graham 1986. Alpine Canada Alpin.

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 1978-79 [L to R]:Gustave Chable (coach), Martine Lesieur, Kathy Kreiner, Marie Dufresne, Ann Blackburn, Laurie Graham, Loni Klettl, Dianne Lehodey, Currie Chapman (coach). 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 Women’s Olympic Ski Team 1984 [top row]: Andréa Bédard, Laurie Graham, Diana Haight [bottom row]: Liisa Savijarvi, Gerry Sorensen, Karen Stemmle. 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 [top row]: Currie Chapman (head coach), Jim Kirby, Gary Athans, Chris McIver, Scott Shaver, Glenn Wurtele [2nd row]: ?, Don Stevens, Felix Belczyk, Paul Boivin, Todd Brooker, Chris Kent [3rd row]: Laurie Graham, Andréa Bédard, Karen Percy, Karen Stemmle, Josée Lacasse [bottom row]: Liisa Savijarvi, Diana Haight, Kerrin Lee Gartner. 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.

Women’s National Alpine Ski Team 1985-86. [top row]: Andréa Bédard, Kellie Casey, Laurie Graham [bottom row]: Diana Haight, Josée Lacasse, Kerrin Lee. 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.

Women’s National Alpine Ski Team 1986-87. [top row]: Andréa Bédard, Kellie Casey, Nancy Gee, Laurie Graham [bottom row]: Diana Haight, Josée Lacasse, Lucie LaRoche, Kerrin Lee. 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 1988 [back row]: Rob Boyd, Don Stevens, Ralf Socher, Alain Villiard, Peter Bosinger, Mike Tommy [2nd row]: Mike Carney, Rob Crossan, Felix Belczyk, Jim Read, Dan Moar, Greg Grossman, Brian Stemmle, Rob Bosinger [3rd row]: Josée Lacasse, Kerrin Lee, Nancy Gee, Kendra Kobelka, Michelle McKendry, Liisa Savijarvi, Andréa Bédard [bottom row]: Lucie LaRoche, Kellie Casey, Karen Stemmle, Laurie Graham, Karen Percy. 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.

National Alpine ski team members: Ken Read, Dave Murray, Gerry Sorensen, Laurie Graham, and Steve Podborski, in Europe receiving watches from OMEGA. Alpine Canada Alpin.

Judy Crawford (left) and Laurie Graham (right) at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Valberg Imaging – Andrea Cardin.

Master of ceremonies Jim Kirby and Laurie Graham at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Master of ceremonies Jim Kirby and Laurie Graham at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.
Master of Ceremonies Laurie Graham and Jim Kirby at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Master of Ceremonies Laurie Graham and Jim Kirby at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.

Laurie Graham (on left sitting at table) and inductee Gerry Sorensen (on right sitting at table) at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.

Master of Ceremonies Laurie Graham and inductee Steve Podborski at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Master of Ceremonies Laurie Graham and inductee Steve Podborski at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.
Canadian Ski Museum Chair, Bill Tindale, and Master of Ceremonies, Laurie Graham, at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Canadian Ski Museum Chair, Bill Tindale, and Master of Ceremonies, Laurie Graham, at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.

1985 Canadian Alpine Skiing Championships Recap (Speed Events) | Vintage Ski Video

Todd Brooker, Laurie Graham, Karen Stemmle and Lisa Savijarvi

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