World champion freestyle skier Sarah Burke, only 29 years old, has died of massive brain injuries, suffered just a few days ago while training for the upcoming X Games.
Sarah came to our Billie Jean King Women's Sports Foundation black-tie dinner in New York most Octobers over recent years. Her bold passion for her sport, and insistence that women in her sport be included in the Olympics (a crusade she single-handedly fought and won) was palpable. Finally, after winning 4 X Games gold medals, Sarah was primed to fulfill her long-term vision and win Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia, 2014. That dream is not to be fulfilled.
I will remember Sarah as a huge smile and constantly open personality, to go along with that fighting spirit. She knew each of the 100 athletes at the end of our weekends in New York, could recall their sports stats, the names of their parents and children and dogs. There was no doubt that we were going to witness the high-flying, maverick super-piper on the gold medal stand in Sochi.
May the magnanimous soul and champion spirit of the ebullient and talented Sarah Burke rest in peace forever.
Follow Diana Nyad on Twitter: www.twitter.com/diananyad