It’s rare that the University of Victoria produces a winter Paralympian, with none as successful as skier Lauren Woolstencroft.
Woolstencroft joins swimmer Stephanie Dixon and all 11 members of the 1981-82 Vikes women’s rowing crew as the 2016 class entering the UVic Sports Hall of Fame.
The all-women class will be celebrated at the annual Celebration of Champions event in the Victoria Conference Centre on March 30. It’s the 14th class to enter the UVic Sports Hall of Fame, founded in 2002.
This year’s class features two Paralympians, Woolstencroft and swimmer Stephanie Dixon, as well as one of the most decorated group of Vikes women’s rowers in the 1981-82 crew.
Woolstencraft, of Calgary, was born missing her left arm below the elbow and both legs below the knees. She earned an electrical engineering degree with distinction at UVic in 2005 while excelling on the world stage as an alpine skier. A three-time Paralympian (2002, 2006 and 2010), Woolstencroft won 10 medals – eight gold, one silver and one bronze, and was the first winter Paralympian to win five gold medals in the same games (2010) after she took first in the Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super-G, Downhill Skiing and Super Combined.
Dixon was born without her right leg and hip, and began swimming at the age of two. By 14 she represented Canada on the Paralympic team, and went on to compete at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, earning 19 Paralympic medals – seven gold, 10 silver and two bronze. She is the only Paralympian to win the same event in world record time at three consecutive games. Dixon also tied a record five gold medals at a single summer Paralympic games, a distinction that Woolstencroft holds for winter Paralympians.
Dixon was the Vikes Athlete of the Year in 2004 and 2005. She graduated with a bachelor of psychology in 2007.
Over the course of 1981 and 1982, UVic boasted one of the most successful groups of women’s rowers in the program’s history.
Vikes rowers Lisa Roy, Janice Mason, Katie Burke, Shelley Donald and Andrea Schreiner Stapff were all 1980 Olympians. They were joined by Canadian junior and national team members Carla Pace and Lorna Schultz Nicholson, and newcomers Joanell Storm, Lisa Robertson, Marilyn Brain Campbell, and Carolyn Trono. The group won the Championship Eights titles at the 1981 and 1982 Royal Canadian Henley regatta and the 1981 inaugural and 1982 Canadian University Rowing Championships. They were Victoria’s Team of the Year in 1981 when they won the 1981-82 USA national championship by two tenths of a second.