Lee Churchill has many fond memories of his time spent on the nordic ski scene so being recognized for his accomplishments is a proud moment.
Churchill, a native of Hodge’s Cove who has called Corner Brook home since 2003, is among the first group of Hall of Famers for Cross-Country Ski Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s always an honour when you’re recognized for something you’re so passionate about. It’s a great honour,” Churchill said of his induction. “I’m glad to see that they’re recognizing people who have contributed to sport in cross-country skiing through the province. It’s nice to see them doing that now. No, it’s a tremendous honour.”
Churchill, who strapped on his first pair of skis in Clarenville at the age of 15, was already making a name for himself on the national nordic ski scene at the National Training Centre in Thunder Bay when the 1999 Canada Winter Games — staged in Corner Brook where he lives with his wife Kastine and three children —appeared on the radar.
The 1999 Games was one of the most exciting sporting events ever staged in the city and this is where Churchill became a household name as he carved up the Blow Me Down Trails with three gold medals for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The sport has been good to him and his family so he’s happy to see his commitment to training all those years pay dividends.
“I fell in love with the sport. The passion kind of drove me through the years to work hard,” said Churchill, who earlier this year was inducted into the Sport Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame at the age of 36.
Now, he still hits the trails and maintains an active lifestyle with his family. He’s also keen on spreading words of encouragement to other athletes with a vision of pushing themselves to their limit to see how far they can take the sport. He also has no problem to promote the activity as a great workout that can be enjoyed by people and families from all walks of life for a long time if they so desire.
Whether it’s a child who comes under his wing in a coaching capacity or one of his own, he had some words of wisdom to pass on.
“The harder you work it will pay off in the end, whether or not it’s in winning a race or becoming first place ...it’s just the satisfaction of knowing that you put everything into it. It’s quite the reward,” he said.