(LOS ANGELES TIMES) — Jill Kinmont Boothe was the national women’s slalom champion and on the cover of Sports Illustrated when she set out to win a 1955 race that would help put her on the U.S. Olympic ski team. As she sped down a Utah mountain slope, she lost control on an icy bump, struck a spectator, crashed and tumbled into a tree.
When she finally came to a stop, she couldn’t feel anything. This must be death, she later recalled thinking. Her neck broken, she was paralyzed below her shoulders, her promising career as a skier over at 18.
But Kinmont Boothe became a role model of a different sort, the subject of a book and two Hollywood films, a teacher and a painter who refused to let her crippling injuries turn her into a different person.