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  • Deedee Corradini, 70, Salt Lake City Mayor and Women's Ski Jump Advocate


    Deedee Corradini at the debut of women ski jumping at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. (ATR)
    (ATR) Deedee Corradini campaigned for the Salt Lake City Olympics as mayor and then led the effort to bring women’s ski jumping to the Winter Games.

    Corradini died March 1 at her home in Park City, Utah after a six-month battle against lung cancer.

    She began the first of two terms as Salt Lake City mayor just as the city was launching its second try in a row for the Winter Games. The effort to win the 2002 Games would prove successful, but tarnished, leading to the vote buying scandal involving IOC members.

    Corradini, however, was never implicated in the scandal and remained an element of stability in Salt Lake City during the last two years of her term, from 1998 to 2000, at the depth of the IOC scandal. In 1998, she was handed the Olympic flag at the closing ceremonies of the Nagano Winter Games, the first female mayor to receive the flag in the annals of the Olympics.

    She left office for private life, moving to North Carolina where she taught at a university. Then she returned to Utah, where she became involved in the push to bring women’s ski jumping to the Winter Olympics.

    Corradini hoists the Olympic flag in Nagano. (Getty Images)
    Corradini was an energetic campaigner who refused to take no for an answer. That’s what the IOC told her and women ski jumpers in 2008 regarding participation in the 2010 Vancouver Games. Corradini and other women ski jump advocates then filed suit in Canada, suggesting that exclusion of the event violated the human rights of the athletes. The lawsuit was rejected before the 2010 Games.

    In 2011, based on improvements in performance and participation, the IOC gave its approval to add women’s ski jumping, beginning with the Sochi Olympics.

    Corradini was in Sochi a year ago for the debut of the women’s event. Speaking to Around the Rings at the time, Corradini was in a joyous mood.

    “I have to pinch myself because we’ve been working for so long for this that it’s hard to believe it’s really here. I should say this is a dream come true because it’s been a dream for so long. This has been 10 years in the making and we’re here.”

    Corradini (left) leads a 2008 rally in Vancouver for women's ski jumping. (ATR)
    Corradini displayed energy and enthusiasm in Sochi that gave no sign of the illness that was about to take its toll just a few months later. She called it the battle of her life during an interview last month with a Salt Lake City radio station.

    Corradini’s family released a statement March 1.

    “Our amazing mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend and mentor died today at her home in Park City, surrounded by the light, love and gratitude of her loved ones. She fought a fierce six-month battle with stage 4 metastasized non-small cell lung cancer (the non-smoking type).

    "Our lives will never be the same without her, yet we celebrate her legacy with such joy. We feel her grace, and know she will continue to guide us deeply though her courageous spirit and extraordinary light that lives within us all."

    Written by Ed Hula

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