Lucile Wheeler’s skiing legacy began long before she was born; her grandfather George had built the Gray Rocks ski center in Quebec. By two she was already on skis and by twelve she had won the Canadian Junior Ski Championship. Though she was offered a chance to compete for Canada at the 1950 World Championships, her parents refused to allow her to go. A competitor at the 1952 Winter Olympics, she never placed better than 26th at any event. Nevertheless, six years later, she became the first North American Olympic medalist in alpine skiing’s downhill event, winning bronze in 1956. At the 1958 World Championships, she won the downhill and giant slalom events and took silver in the combined.
Wheeler won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 1958, given annually to Canada’s top athlete, and was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame that same year. She retired in 1959 and won the American Library Association’s Best Education Sports Film Award the following year for a ski instruction video. She is married to CFL Hall of Fame player Kaye Vaughan.