#WOTW: Sharon and Shirley Firth

Sharon and Shirley Firth are two twin sisters and cross-country skiers and both are members of the Gwich’in First Nation. From the late 1960s to the mid-1980s the Firth Twins dominated Canadian crosscountry skiing. Born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, the twins came from a family of 12. They were introduced to skiing through the Territorial Experimental Ski Training Program. They then became members of the national cross-country ski team for 17 consecutive years. At their national debut at the Canadian Junior Cross-Country in 1968, Shirley won silver and Sharon won Bronze, and this was just the beginning of their successful careers. The sisters than retired and went separate ways. Sharon relocated to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and became a Youth Program Advisor for the government of the Northwest Territories. While, Shirley and her husband moved to Paris for 20 years. She earned a teaching certificate from the University of Paris, and lectured in central Europe about the Dene and Inuit cultures. Towards her later life, she was an  Executive Assistant to Jackie Jacobson, who was a speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly.The Firth’s twins careers are historical and momentus since they were one of the first Aboriginal athletes to represent Canada at the Olympics, and were also some of the first members of  the first Canadian women’s cross-country ski team at the Olympics. In 1990, the Firth Twins were inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Ski Museum. In 2015, they were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Between the both of them, the sisters have won 79 medals at national championships, including 48 national titles.

Always try to maintain that positive attitude. That’s something you’re going to have to learn how to do. You know, you’re not going to be positive all the time”

– Sharon Firth

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