Thomas Joseph Podivinsky
Born: July 9, 1965 (Brno, Czechoslovakia)
Died: February 16, 2014 (Whitefish, Montana)
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1965, Tom Podivinsky immigrated to Canada three years later as the events of the Prague Spring roiled his homeland. He began skiing at age six with the Snow Valley Ski Club of Edmonton, later competing on the Nor-Am and National Championships circuit in North America and Europe.
“I was probably better at the aprés ski than on the snow portion of the competition,” he said in an interview published earlier this year.
Podivinsky’s younger brother, Edi, born in 1970, would have greater success on the ski hill, winning a bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, the last Canadian male to win an Olympic alpine medal until Jan Hudec took the bronze in the Super-G at the Sochi Olympics earlier this month.
Tom Podivinsky said before the Sochi Games it would be bittersweet if his brother’s achievement would be matched by a fellow Canadian.
On that very day, Tom Podivinsky died in a skiing accident while on vacation with his family in Montana. He was found upside down in a tree well at the Whitefish Mountain Resort and could not be revived.
Tom Podivinsky was chief geophysicist for Athabasca Oil Corporation at the time of his death. He leaves Mary Beth, his wife of 14 years; a son; a daughter; his brother Edi, also known as Ed; and, his parents, Ed and Ina.