Sarah Burke in the hearts of freeskiing community in Sochi

2014-02-20 Sarah Burke
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Marie Martinod had snowflakes painted on her fingernails. It was her way of paying tribute to Sarah Burke, the Canadian freeskier who had helped these women get to these Olympics.

More than two years after her death, Burke was remembered in small ways by her peers during Thursday's freeski halfpipe competition.
For Martinod, the event was especially poignant. The French skier had competed against Burke as a teen but retired and had a daughter, Melirose, who is 4.
A conversation with Burke before her death stuck with Martinod, as Burke urged her to return to the sport she anticipated would soon be added to the Olympics. After a six-year hiatus, Martinod, 29, won silver in the event Burke had campaigned to get into the Games.
"I'm thinking I didn't say goodbye to Sarah yet," Martinod said. "Now I think I can do it because she asked me to do what she told me to do when I last saw her two years ago."
Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield, and parents, Gord Burke and Jan Phelan, were in attendance to see the culmination of her hard work.
USA gold medalists Maddie Bowman and David Wise celebrate on the podium after the ladies' ski halfpipe.
They saw small remembrances of Burke, although International Olympic Committee rules don't allow for the "Sarah" stickers and armbands that skiers have been wearing since Burke died Jan. 19, 2012, nine days after a training accident in Park City, Utah.
"It seems that it never ends," Gord Burke said. "Tonight is one of two years' worth of special things that just continue, and it all just comes from people that loved her deeply."
Before the qualification round at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, announcer Chris Ernst gave a brief history of the sport's progression, including how Burke had pioneered it and helped get it into the X Games.
"This night is dedicated to her entirely," he said.
Awaiting the score for her qualification run, France's Anais Caradeux mouthed, "I love you Sarah."
Canadian Rosalind Groenewoud tapped her helmet where a "Sarah" sticker would have been.
Martinod painted the snowflakes on her nails, ones like the snowflake tattoo Burke had on her foot that has become the symbol for her foundation.
"Sarah has inspired us on snow and off snow, and she would have been very proud of how all of the girls rode tonight," gold medalist Maddie Bowman of the USA said. "I sure hope that I and everyone else made her proud, because we would have not been here without her."

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