The Fernie Museum hosted a former Olympian as their guest speaker last Saturday night as part of their winter theme “The Road To the Olympics.”
The guest speaker herself, freestyle aerialist Carin Hernskog, spoke of her difficult journey to the podium at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games, where she won bronze for Sweden.
Her path to the Olympics was not easy, however. Just seven months prior to the games she suffered a hit to the head during a failed jump at a minor competition in Japan.
“The best aerialists were invited from all over the world for this invitational in Japan and it was an amazing sporting event,” said Hernskog. “I was 5,000 miles away from home, at the top of my career [but] as I was on the course down that ramp I knew something was wrong … I whacked my head and my world went black … My dreams were shattered in five seconds.”
Following her jump, Hernskog said she felt that there was “a thick wall of fear that held [her] hostage” but she knew she had to push through despite her doubts that she could ever get her career back on track.
“I knew that if I wanted to come back from this, I would have to work hard,” said Hernskog.”
Looking back on her career and her accomplishments, Hernskog said, “I was no extraordinary girl, but I did some extraordinary things. At the end of it all, I learned to follow my passion, follow my goals and take risks. When faced with a high road and a low road … take the high ramp.”
Hernskog’s presentation was preceded by a social event at the museum, welcoming a packed house of locals enjoying food and refreshments.
The museum partnered with the Fernie Alpine Ski Team (FAST) to put on the event in conjunction with the colourful exhibit by Alberta artist Gordon Milne currently being displayed at the museum that captures portraits of famous athletes.
Lori Bradish, program coordinator for the Fernie Museum, said that the museum has been working hard to team up with community organizations to put on these events.
“It’s one of our mandates right now to work with organizations in the community to put on social events like this,” explained Bradish.
“It’s sports organizations right now because of the exhibit, but in the future it could be children’s organizations or schools or service organizations. We really want to work on our programming and going out into the community and having the community come into the museum and appreciate what we’ve developed here,” she added.
In addition to Hernskog, Bradish said that the museum has plans to partner with the Fernie Curling Club and Fernie Nordic Society to bring in Olympic curler Kevin Martin and Olympic cross-country skier Beckie Scott.