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Ken Read and the ‘Crazy Canucks’ Alpine Skiers

By Taylor McKee, January 8 2015 —

With five World-Cup wins and a membership in the famed ‘Crazy Canucks’ fraternity, Ken Read remains one of Canada’s most beloved winter athletes.

Read first joined the Canadian Alpine team in 1973. In 1975 in Val d’Isere, France, at 20 years old, he became the first North American to win a World Cup downhill race, with a winning time of two minutes and five seconds. The victory was only the beginning of Read’s successful career on the international downhill circuit, garnering four more World Cup victories and finishing second overall in the 1980 World Cup standings.

Read was part of a group of Canadian skiers that captured the world’s attention in the late 1970s and 80s called the ‘Crazy Canucks’. They were known for their reckless style compared to more conventional European counterparts.

In 1978, Read received the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s Top Athlete. He was named Canada’s male amateur athlete of the year in 1980. In 1983, Read retired from competition and began his career as a broadcaster, columnist and businessman.

During his racing career, Read attended classes at the University of Calgary. He now resides in Calgary as a consultant. Previously, Read served as the President and CEO of Alpine Canada and the director of Winter Sport for Own the Podium.

Recognizing his illustrious career, the government of Canada honoured Read by naming him to the Order of Canada in 1991. Read was also previously inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1987 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

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