Kimberley Olympian Gerry Rinaldi passes

Gerry made his name on the Hahnenkamm, the famous race course in Austria

Gerry Rinaldi in competition.

Gerry Rinaldi in competition.

ANTHONY DRANSFELD

It is a sad day for the Kimberley  skiing community, with the passing of Gerry Rinalldi.

Gerry was born and raised here in Kimberley, starting out with the North Star Ski Racing Team (North Star Racers). He then rose to the pinnacle of ski racing in the world, becoming a Canadian National Ski Team Member  at age 18, and then  on to the Canadian Olympic Ski Team, with his close friend Nancy Greene, and fellow Kimberley-lite Emily Ringheim, (when the National Ski Team was based out of Nelson B. C).  Gerry was  never with out a smile, and a joke or two. I never remember him calling me anything but “Butch Kek”, at the ball park or on the Dreadnaught Downhill Course, when he was mentoring me on Not To Be Afraid of the  60 M.P.H. average speed. Gerry Rinaldi was a very  good person, and represented his home town of Kimberley B. C. with class. and grace. You will be missed Rinaldo. From a few years back, this is Gerry Rinaldis Story.

Gerry Rinaldi was the second Alpine Skier from Kimberley B.C. to make it on the Canadian National Ski Team, just 2 seasons after Kimberley teammate  and later to be Coach Gary Baddistella. Rinaldi learned his downhill racing on the  “Dreadnaught” a run which sadly no longer exists in its entirety up at Kimberley Resort. The “Dreadnaught (and there were many reasons to dread it, believe you me, 1 minute and 40 seconds of    surprises). The run  itself  began at a notch in the trees to the right of the Rosa, when you got off the Tee Bar, (which was reputed to be the longest Tee in North America, 24 minutes to the top).

Gerry Rinaldi was on the Canadian National Ski Team when Nancy Greene was attaining world status. The Canuck Men were quite  formidable themselves, Peter Duncan, Bobby Swan, Wayne and Scott Henderson, Rod Hebron ( we both dated the same girl back in the day, Ski Isnstuctor  Allison Goodfellow from Montreal). Gerry, or “Rinaldo” as he was known on the Canadian team, made the skiing world sit up and take notice when he scored an incredible tenth  place finish on the famed Hahnenkamm Downhill  Course in Kitzbuhel Austria, only half a second behind Karl Schranz, Jean Claude Killy, and Guy Perrilat. The Hahnenkamm  is the toughest downhill in the world, speeds of 70 MPH  and up and 100,000 fans screaming in your ear, no Canadian had ever placed as high  as Kimberley’s Gerry Rinaldi. The date was January 18th, 1969, and Gerry was all of 23 years old

In  summers, Gerry came back to town  to work for his dad Bruno Rinaldi, who  owned a plumbing and heating business here in Kimberley (where the Kimberley Bulletin now operates).

Rinaldo played baseball for the B.P.O.E. Angels,, under Coach Mauk.

Gerry Rinaldi  competed in the  in the 1968 Winter Olympics in   Grenoble France, where Jean Claude Killy won 3 gold medals in skiing.

At the ripe old age of 22,  Gerry finished a decent 31st  in the Downhill.

As it turned out, Rinaldi was not quite done with the Hahnenkamm   Downhill in Kitzbuhel. Austria.  At the 65th running of it,  the Austrian Ski Federation  invited Gerry  Rinaldi to be their  Technical Delegate (Director) of the Hahnenkamm. In Austria, this race is as sacred as our Stanley Cup Hockey  Finals.. This was a huge honour for Mr. Rinaldi, and Canada as a skiing nation.

The last time i saw Gerry Rinaldi, he was up at Trickle Creek playing golf ( would you believe a 68). Rinaldo was not a flashy skier, but he was a darn good racer who certainly did his part to put Kimberley B.C. on the ski map. “Renaldo” is   now a member of Canada Skiing Hall of Fame.

Gerry leaves a sister here in Kimberley, Christine.