CCendrine Browne put the finishing touches to a memorable cross-country ski career this spring that included trips to the start lines of two Olympic Games, five World Championships and countless World Cup events around the globe over the last 13 years.
In recognition of the 28-year-old’s solid performances and outstanding leadership on and off the snow, the Canadian Snowsports Association named Browne the recipient of the 2022 John Semmelink Memorial Award which is bestowed annually to the Canadian snow sport athlete who best represents Canada in international sport with integrity, conduct and ability.
“This is a very big honour for me, and I am blown away by this news,” said Browne. “This is validation for me that I am not only a skier, but a leader in the community which means a lot for me going forward in this new chapter of my life. It also brings me a sense of purpose and fulfillment.”
Cendrine Browne The skier was one of a handful of Canadian women counted on to lead a new generation of athletes on the National Ski Team. Browne did so while exuding optimism and positivity as one of the top role models in the sport for young skiers across the country.
Browne always found time during her own career to work with the next generation of skiers, playing an important role in mentoring younger athletes at all levels of the sport and inspiring newcomers to the athlete pathway by taking time to sign autographs, take pictures, or speak to future champions.
She also co-created Feminaction – a program designed to promote participation and retention of women in sport with the goal to empower women far beyond the sporting community. Priding herself on demonstrating grit, determination, professionalism and respect for competing under the rules of fair sport while overcoming a series of challenges throughout her career that included having to face a period of depression and multiple concussions sustained from a training accident after making her Olympic debut in 2018, Browne embodies what any Canadian athlete strives to achieve.
She is quiet and humble in nature but a fierce competitor when clicking into a pair of skis on any start line. “We have learned about Cendrine’s persistence and dedication on the field of play but are equally impressed by her commitment to lead by example while always supporting her teammates,” said Ken Read, chair, Canadian Snowsports Association Awards Committee. “Most importantly, Cendrine understands the responsibility of an Olympic and National Team athlete to be a great role model for young women. We can’t think of a better recipient, and she is very deserving of this award.”
The John Semmelink Award is considered the most prestigious award in Canadian snow sports. Named in honour of John Semmelink, who lost his life in a training accident while competing in Garmisch, Germany, the award was first presented in 1962 to alpine skier, Anne Heggtveit-Hamilton. Browne is in prestigious company as one of only six cross-country ski athletes to have received the award.
Others include: Alex Harvey (2019); Beckie Scott (2003, 2002); Pierre Harvey (1988, 1987, 1985); and Sharon and Shirley Firth (1972). The athlete representatives of the six Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of the Canadian Snowsports Association may name a candidate for consideration, with a Selection Committee naming the winner. The 2022 John Semmelink Memorial Award will be presented at the annual Canadian Ski Museum induction ceremony in the autumn 2022.