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Connecting the Swan River Valley to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics


For most of us in the Valley, watching the Olympics has been an amazing experience. We get to cheer on our country and rally along with their successes. But, for the Fawcett family, it’s been a little more than that.
They’ve been gifted with the opportunity to watch a family member not only compete in the Olympics, but bring home a gold medal.
Cassie Sharpe’s grandparents grew up in the Valley, her Grandma Maxine (Fawcett) Sharpe from Kenville and her Grandpa Stewart Sharpe from Bowsman, and on Tuesday (Feb. 20) she did them all more than proud.
The 25-year-old freestyle skier laid down an untouchable score in her very first run, making her efforts one and done with an even better second run for good measure.
“She’s ecstatic,” said her father Donald Sharpe. “She’s over the moon and so happy and so proud. It’s just amazing. We’re so happy that she made it here and worked so hard.
“She overcame a bunch of injuries and she worked really hard to make sure she was at the top of her game. She came out, laid it down, and did a great job at the event.”
From a young age, Cassie Sharpe loved to ski, but how far she’s gone has surpassed everyone’s expectations.
“We knew that she was a great skier,” said Sharpe. “She used to go out skiing all the time with her brothers. I work at a ski resort so I would take them to work with me in the morning and they would go out skiing for the whole day.
“They were supposed to be in lessons and supposed to be doing certain things, but, I found out later on that for many years they were doing the jumps and rails instead. They were doing things that kids do and having a great time doing it. Her brothers definitely had an influence on her skiing.”
On Sunday (Feb. 18) at the Bokwang Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Cassie Sharpe placed first, qualifying in her Olympic debut, giving her the chance to run last in her competitive order in the three-run final a day later. In a bid to bring Canada its first-ever Olympic medal in the women’s event, Cassie Sharpe wasn’t about to hold back.
The pressure was upped as the competitors who preceded her put up big scores but Cassie Sharpe was able to rise to the challenge scoring a 94.40 in her first run on Feb. 19, which would be enough to firmly put herself in first and the burden squarely back on the field to beat her. The other skiers responded, but none could shift her position from the top of the leaderboard.
For good measure, she topped her own score in her second run, cementing the victory with a final score of 95.8.
“By the time it came to her third run she had already won the event,” said Donald Sharpe. “It was basically a victory lap so that one was pretty exciting.”
Cassie Sharpe was unavailable to comment due to commitments and travel schedule but she took part in a press conference last week, speaking to media at that time.
“On my first run, I just really wanted to land. That’s like my biggest thing for my confidence," she told media outlets. “If I don’t land my first run, I have a hard time coming back from that.
“I’ve been training so hard to get that run consistent and I just wanted to come out here strong with that first run. After I landed that I was like ‘OK, this is it, you can do this, if you land the second run you can bump your score.
“Even before the final I was saying that I wanted to showcase to the world what women can do in the halfpipe,” Cassie Sharpe continued. “Just to take a victory lap of straight airs was not my style. I wanted to keep pushing it, do a bigger run and up my own score but at the top of my pipe my coach and I realized I had won and started tearing up. I knew I would lose my focus, which I did on the second hit, but it was incredible to look up the pipe knowing I had already won and I got back up and gave the people what they wanted – a show.
“That was kind of the moment where I was like ‘I can’t believe I’m here’. It was wild. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s just an incredible feeling. Just putting all my hard work into this, it’s just everything wrapped up into one.”
Fifteen of her closest friends and family were in attendance for her big win.
“We knew she had a pretty good shot at making the Olympics,” said Donald Sharpe. “She won a couple of events in December, and then some in January as well. So, we made plans to be here and it’s been an awesome experience. Many of us have been here for the whole time.”
Cassie Sharpe will now take the support of not only her family and friends but an entire country with her as she competes in a World Cup event in France in March.
Her younger brother, Darcy Sharpe, has also made a name for himself in the winter sports world. Named an alternate for the Canadian team to the Pyeongchang Olympics, the 21-year-old recently won silver at the Winter X Games in men’s snowboarding slopestyle which is a strong indicator that having the Sharpe siblings both competing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is a strong possibility.

Jakki Lumax