Kucera, John - 2017
Kucera, John - 2017
2017 Alpine Skiing Athlete, Calgary
John Kucera was a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team from 2002 until his retirement in 2014. In 2006, he became the first Canadian male alpine skier to win on Canadian soil when he won the World Cup Super-G at Lake Louise. He finished third at the 2006 World Cup Super-G in Val Gardena, Italy. Then in 2009, at Val D’Isere, France, John once again made history - as the first Canadian male to win a Downhill World Championship race. Between 2005 and 2013, John won six races and had five second-place finishes at National Championships.
John's first foray into ski racing came with the Calgary Alpine Racing Club on the slopes of Mount Norquay and Nakiska. From his early days in the Nancy Greene Learn-to-Ski-Race programs, his dedication and hard work elevated him to the Alberta Ski Team and onward to the Canadian National Ski Team. He raced in all five alpine disciplines during his career and excelled in the speed events of Downhill and Super-G. Following his historic victory in 2006 at Lake Louise, John came close to winning there again when he earned a second-place finish in 2008.
John skied for Canada at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games where he competed in the Combined, the Downhill, and the Super-G events. In 2009, his journey to compete at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics came to an end when he suffered a string of injuries which included a broken leg, a second leg break, an injured back, and an inner ear infection that caused extreme vertigo. Despite a long rehab, he was unable to return to full form and his career was cut short.
John and his fellow Canadian team members of Erik Guay, Manny Osborne-Paradis, and Jan Hudec became known as the "Canadian Cowboys." Their accomplishments and John's historic victories superseded the success of the legendary "Crazy Canucks" in the 1970s and 1980s. John and the other Canadian Cowboys raised the bar for the next generation of Canadian Alpine skiers.
After his retirement from skiing in 2014, he became the Coach of the National Development Team. John Kucera was named Alberta Male Athlete of the Year in 2006 and again in 2009.