Olympic gold medallist Jennifer Heil, a McGill University student from Spruce Grove, Alta., has been proclaimed by Time Magazine as a Canadian hero.
Time, which will publish its third annual list of Canada's Heroes in the June 19 issue that hits newsstands this week, defined heroes as people who have made a difference to their communities and to their country.
Heil, the 23-year-old moguls freestyle ski queen, became only the second woman from McGill to win an Olympic gold medal. Kim St-Pierre, a goaltender with the women's national hockey team, was the first, in 2002, and captured a second Olympic gold at the Winter Games in Turin.
Heil, a three-time world champion, broke onto the Canadian mogul scene in 2000 at the age of 16, capturing national titles in both single and dual moguls at Mont Gabriel, Que. At the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, she was the youngest Canadian Olympian and achieved a fourth-place finish, missing the podium by the smallest of margins, 1/100th of a point.
Following the 2002 Olympic season, Heil made a bold decision to take a full year away from competition. She moved to Montreal and enrolled at McGill as a full-time business management student, while undertaking a specialized training program to enhance her physical strength.
She returned to competition in 2004 and dominated the World Cup circuit, winning back-to-back-to-back overall World Cup titles, becoming the first Canadian woman to do so.