Rhona Wurtele

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameGrace Rhona•Wurtele (-Gillis)
Used nameRhona•Wurtele
Born21 January 1922 in Saint Lambert, Québec (CAN)
Died17 January 2020 in Pointe-Claire, Québec (CAN)
NOC Canada


Rhona Wurtele, along with her twin sister Rhoda, was one of the most heralded female skiers of her era. She first made the Canadian national team in 1942, coming in first during the trials, and spent the next several years alternating between the top two podium spots in numerous North American championships. When the 1948 Winter Olympics came around, she was named to Canada’s alpine skiing delegation in the downhill and slalom events, but she entered the former already bandaged from an infected wound and finished in even worse shape. Hitting a tree stump near the end of the run, she broke her leg but still managed to complete the course, albeit in last place. She was then forced, like Rhoda, to withdraw from the slalom competition. Her husband Gene, named to the United States Olympic team, was also injured during a practice run and could not participate in the Games either. She continued to compete up through 1952, but did not take part in that year’s Winter Olympics.

By the 1960s Rhona had taken up ski instructing, a career that would continue for several decades. Alongside her sister, she was inducted into the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada (1953), United States Ski (1969), Canadian Ski (1982), and Laurentian Ski (1986) Halls of Fame. Two of her children, Margie and Christopher, were internationally renowned dancers and a third, Jere, played in the National Hockey League for nine of the ten seasons spanning 1977 through 1987.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) CAN Rhona Wurtele
Downhill, Women (Olympic) 37
Slalom, Women (Olympic) DNS

Olympic family relations