Throwback Thursday: Canada’s alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft

The Paralympic ‘Golden Girl’, electrical engineer and former alpine skier, recalls her memorable performance at Vancouver 2010. 26 May 2016
Lauren Woolstencroft

Lauren Woolstencroft

ⒸGetty Images, Lauren Woolstencroft

“I see myself as part of the Paralympic Movement, which has inspired so many people, and as an example that anything is possible.”

Para alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft made history at Vancouver 2010. Not only did she become the first woman to win five golds in a single Paralympic Winter Games but she also helped design the electrical infrastructure for the mountain venues located in Whistler resort area.

Woolstencroft graduated as electrical engineer from the University of Victoria in 2005 and then joined Canada’s electric utility BC Hydro, for whom she was working for whilst preparing for the Vancouver 2010 alpine skiing competition.

“I had to get the right amount of power to both the permanent and temporary facilities of each venue,” the 34-year-old said.

“It was a fantastic experience and a lot of hard work.

“I was lucky to have a supportive employer and a ski team that helped make it work,” said Woolstencroft, who won eight golds, one silver and one bronze over three Paralympic Games between 2002 and 2010.

“There are no engineers in my family, but I was always drawn towards maths and sciences during my time in high school,” she added.

Woolstencroft admits that it was not easy for her to study while she was competing at the highest level.

“I was fortunate to find a school that was supportive of my alpine skiing career and helped me with my time off requirements,” she said.

“It was a lot of juggling and hard work. I was also fortunate to have great coaches and a team staff that supported my desire to complete my degree.

“You have to be prepared to make sacrifices on both sides if you want to study and compete simultaneously. For me, it was definitely worth it in the end.”

After winning golds in the downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super combined and super-G standing events in Vancouver, Woolstencroft gained deserved recognition.

“I have been enjoying recognition in Canada after the 2010 Games. That was the best experience in my ski racing career for sure!

“It was very meaningful to have my best five performances in front of my family and friends. The first and the last days were especially exciting.

“It was great to kick off the Games with the first medal, which was confidence boosting as I had not had great results leading up to the Games.

“After winning the fifth and last medal, I could not believe what I had just achieved.”

Woolstencroft also believes that her success goes beyond the skis.

“I see myself as part of the Paralympic Movement, which has inspired so many people, and as an example that anything is possible.”

Editor’s note: “Throwback Thursday” is a feature series published on twice a month, bringing you some of the top Paralympic athletes of the past and seeing where they are now.