Sarah Burke Honored in Sochi; Workers Form Giant Heart in Skier's Memory

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Two dozen workers formed a massive heart and skied down the halfpipe in honor of the late Sarah Burke, a champion freestyle skier, at the Sochi Olympics.

The halfpipe pioneer died after a training accident in 2012 and had been instrumental in elevating women's freestyle skiing to this global Olympic platform.

This was the skiing community's way of saying thank you:

Sarah Burke Heart

Burke's husband, Rory Bushfield, and parents, Gord Burke and Jan Phelan, were there to see the result of her hard work, and were moved by the tribute.

"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 U.S. said.

"I sure hope that I and everyone else made her proud."

Burke's father, Gord, told reporters after seeing the tribute that he couldn't have imagined witnessing "so much love for one person. So much passion and energy."

Bowman said of Burke, who she met years ago, was "the coolest moment" of her life. France's Marie Martinod also credited Burke with renewing her love of skiing.

At the end of her second-place run today, she pointed to the sky and formed a heart with her hands for her former competitor and permanent inspiration.

Bronze medalist Ayana Onozuka of Japan said that she was an Alpine skier before watching Burke inspired her to "take up a new profession."

Canada's Rosalind Groenewoud, who finished seventh, said that she wished that the late Sarah Burke "could have won tonight if it wasn't me."

Sarah Burke Photo
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