Famous ski pole has been recycled
Remembering a Norwegian’s generosity
That ski pole has been made into the perfect length for a six-year-old. It’s being used on family adventures. It’s been cut down.
Sara Renner — the former Olympic cross-country skier, rabid recycler, proud parent and Canmore, Alta., innkeeper — has finally answered one of winter sport’s most enduring questions.
“That ski pole has been made into the perfect length for a six-year-old. It’s being used on family adventures. It’s been cut down,” she said.
Renner’s eldest daughter, Aria, used the pole for years, then handed it off to middle daughter Gabby, who will almost certainly pass it on to four-year-old Maya.
“I’m an avid recycler, so I felt good about it,” Renner said.
“At some point I would like to make a community ski tree where everyone donates one broken ski to a Christmas tree and the star at the top will be ski poles of significance. So I do have a plan for that ski pole.”
That ski pole is the one Renner used, on an emergency basis, to win a silver medal in the team sprint with fellow Canadian Beckie Scott at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
That ski pole came from Norwegian head coach Bjornar Haakensmoen. Renner needed it because hers broke during the third lap of the six-lap race.
“That was strange. I had never broken a ski pole before. Or since,” said Renner, who still skis with Scott in Canmore, but only recreationally.
“I honestly do not know how that happened. In the men’s race that followed us, the Italians broke a pole and finished fourth. And a Swedish coach gave them a replacement. So it is common in our sport.”
Both the breaking and the donating. That’s why Haakensmoen downplayed the generous act of sportsmanship as a no-brainer.
Renner thanked him with a bottle of Barolo. Canadians shipped him best wishes and tons of maple syrup. The two accidental stars ate pancakes together in Oslo shortly after the Games and led the 2006 Calgary Stampede parade on horseback.
“He was hilarious because he was sure he could totally pull it off in his Oxfords, that he didn’t need a pair of cowboy boots,” Renner said.
“I was like, ‘Dude, if someone is offering to kit you out at the Calgary Stampede, you say yes.’ ”
And when somebody breaks a pole, you offer up yours as a replacement.