Former mogul skier now developing future champions
With less than a week to go before he is to be inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, mogul legend John Smart is still a little out of the loop. He doesnt know who else is being inducted this year, or much about the official ceremony. His brother might make the trip from Toronto to Ottawa to cheer him on, he doesnt know he hasnt asked him yet.
Truth be told, Smart has been too busy managing his line of SMS Clothing in preparation for the winter season to sit down and really let the news sink in. About halfway through the interview it finally hit him.
"Its a great honour," said Smart. "Its like going to the Olympics. Theres a sense of national pride that you become more aware of.
"We athletes are incredibly selfish, its all about you. But in the Olympics you really see for the first time that you have a whole country behind you, and theres a lot more to this than just yourself.
"Being recognized like this brings back the same feelings."
This Saturday, Nov. 22, Smart will join a handful of other freestyle athletes to be named to the Ski Hall of Fame by the Canadian Ski Museum. The ceremony will take place at Camp Fortune, across the border in Old Chelsea Quebec. Other 2003 inductees include alpine skiers Bob Gilmour and Peter Webster, and cross country skier Dave Rees. Olympic silver medallist Becky Scott, who moved up two places in cross-country as a result of drug tests, will also win the 2003 John Semmelink Award for Canadian Skier of the Year.
Smart was nominated by Jack Gardner, the father of freestyle aerialist Meredith Gardner who was named to the Hall in 1995. Until word came that he was on the list for this year, Smart says the idea of going for the Hall of Fame never occurred to him.
Even so, Smart was pleasantly surprised to discover that he could have qualified for the Hall of Fame in any of the four nomination categories athletics, coaching, officiating, and participation in the ski industry.
After being told that he could only enter in one category, he decided to go with his athletic career, which included a decade with the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, and four years on a pro mogul skiing circuit.
In his career, Smart earned 13 World Cup medals, including two gold medals, five silver medals and six bronze medals. He competed in three world championships, placing sixth twice and seventh once, and finished the 1993 season ranked second in the world.