Gwich’in world ski jump champion Alexandria Louttit has been co-named Athlete of the Year as a winner of the 2023 Prix Commémoratif John Semmelink Memorial Award.
Presented to the best representative of Canada in integrity, conduct and ability in any given year, this year the Canadian Snowsports Association was unable to decide between two outstanding athletes and instead honoured them both.
Louttit took the snowsports world by storm when she became the first Canadian to win a gold medal at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on March 1 in Planica, Slovenia. Louttit doubled down on her success a few weeks later in Whistler, B.C., where she won the Junior World Championships before returning to Slovenia to claim another championship medal. She then set the new Canadian ski jump distance record by jumping 225 metres at the first Women’s Ski Flying competition in Vikersund, Norway.
“It fills me with great pride to be acknowledged not only for my results, but also for my unwavering passion and the recognition of my true character,” said Loutitt. “Having my name included in the list of recipients for the prestigious John Semmelink Memorial Award brings me immense joy.”
Joining Louttit in this year’s recognition is alpine skier Laurence St-Germain, from St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. St-Germain is the first Canadian woman in 60 years to take a gold medal in slalom, taking the world championship at the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel, France.
“I am honoured and thankful to be recognized with this award,” said St-Germain. “It means a lot to be recognized for more than skiing, and for qualities like integrity and conduct, values that my parents instilled in our family.
“It’s nice to be recognized alongside Alexandria with all that she’s accomplished at such a young age, and to be associated with previous winners including Anne Heggtveit, Nancy Greene and Pierre Harvey, who is from my hometown.”
The two-time Olympian is the 23rd alpine skier to win the award.
“Being named the co-winner for 2022-2033 alongside Laurence St. Germain, an extraordinary athlete whom I deeply admire, is a true honour,” said Louttit, who is the third ski jumper to receive the national honour.
Considered the most prestigious award in Canadian snow sports, the John Semmelink Award was named for a Canadian alpine ski racer who died in a training accident while competing in the Arlberg-Kandahar downhill race in 1959. The award will be presented Montreal at the Canadian Ski Museum and Hall of Fame on Nov. 17.