Two world champion Canadian women, ski jumper Alexandria Loutitt and alpine skier Laurence St-Germain were announced today as co-winners of the 2023 Prix commémoratif John Semmelink Memorial Award. The prestigious award is bestowed annually by the Canadian Snowsports Association to a Canadian snow sport athlete who best represents the country in international sport with integrity, conduct and ability.
The 2022-23 winter competition season was historic for Canadian snowsports, with outstanding results across all six winter disciplines. On February 18, St-Germain took gold in the women’s slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel, France. Eleven days later, on March 1, Loutitt became the first Canadian to stand on top of the podium at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, taking gold in the large hill at Planica, Slovenia.
“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 Canada’s teenage ski jumping sensation Loutitt, who was part of Canada’s bronze-medal winning team at the 2022 Olympics. “Having my name included in the list of recipients for the prestigious John Semmelink Memorial Award brings me immense joy. Being named the co-winner for 2022-2033 alongside Laurence St. Germain, an extraordinary athlete whom I deeply admire, is a true honor.”
“I am honoured and thankful to be recognized with this award,” said 28-year-old St-Germain, who is also an engineering student at Polytechnique Montreal. “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.”
“Alexandria and Laurence represent what this award is all about. Their resilience, work ethic, persistence and dedication on the field of play is unmatched, but equally impressive, is their commitment to lead by example while always supporting teammates and giving back to others,” said Ken Read, chair, Canadian Snowsports Association Awards Committee. “Alexandria is a true trailblazer for Canada’s snow sports. She understands the responsibility of an Olympic and National Team athlete to be a great role model for young women, for her sport and to Indigenous youth. And Laurence shows her character both on and off the snow through her work and dedication to her sport, her studies and her community. There are no more deserving recipients of this award in 2023.”
Just weeks after becoming the first Canadian woman ever to win a World Cup ski jumping event, the 19-year-old Calgarian added to her historic list of firsts, winning the junior world championships on the hill she was inspired to take up the sport on in Whistler, B.C. after watching the 2010 Olympics. Loutitt completed the golden hat trick in ski jumping last year after she was crowned World Champion on the large hill at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Planica, Slovenia. It was the first medal ever won by a Canuck in the sport at the world championships. Later in March, Loutitt jumped 225 metres during the first ever women’s ski flying competition in Vikersund, Norway claiming the title of Canadian distance record holder.
The last World Cup win by any Canadian was Horst Bulau in 1983, more than two decades before the young Loutitt was born.
Loutitt, who has centralized with her teammates in Slovenia, has stayed connected with her Canadian roots, leveraging her success to be a role model for young girls in the community encouraging them to set big dreams and battle through adverse times. A lot of those youngsters are Indigenous people, particularly from her Nihtat Gwich'in roots.
St-Germain (St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC) is the first Canadian women in 60 years to win gold in slalom at a world championship with her result at the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Méribel, France. The last winner was Anne Heggtveit who won gold at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, that were also considered world championships. Heggtveit won the Semmelink Memorial Award in 1962.
Finishing this, her eighth season on the national team, St-Germain is a two-time Olympian (2018 & 2022) and a two-time World Championships competitor (2019 & 2023). Along with being a world champion, St-Germain has 15 top 10 World Cup finishes.
A graduate of the University of Vermont, where she won an NCAA national championship, St-Germain is continuing her studies at Polytechnique Montreal in electrical engineering.
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.
Loutitt is just the third ski jumper to have received the award, Horst Bulau won in 1982/83 and in 1978/79. Tom Reaper had his name on the award in 1974/75, while St-Germain is the 23rd alpine skier to win the award.
The 2023 John Semmelink Memorial Award will be presented at the annual Canadian Ski Museum and Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled to be held November 17th, 2023 in Montreal.