The accident which on January 30 came to Jill Kinmont, holder of the women's National Junior and Senior slalom titles, was among the saddest in sports history. As most of our readers know, Jill lost control during her run in the Snow Cup giant slalom at Alta, Utah, when she hit an icy bump too fast, sailed many feet into the air, hit a tree, a spectator, and finally came to a stop, paralyzed and insensitive from the neck down.
Alta ski patrolmen were among the first to reach the fallen skier. Olympic Champion Andrea Mead Lawrence, who had made her own run earlier in the race, watched Jill's crash with horror, joined her as she was being lifted into the ambulance and went with her to the Salt Lake City Hospital. Later in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Lawrence recounted the story to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Assistant Managing Editor Dick Johnston and spoke of the courage and uncomplaining stoicism with which this young champion, even in shock, faced quite quickly the truth and seriousness of her mishap.
Jill Kinmont has been in the hospital ever since. The first few days, of life or death, have fortunately passed. Her hospitalization, however, will be long and costly. Now the question remains whether Jill will ever regain control of those bodily skills which led this country's experts to regard her chances for success in the Winter Olympics with such high hopes.
Immediately after the accident, readers of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED from all over the nation began writing to express their sympathy and to inquire if a fund existed to defray Jill's medical expenses.
February 28, 1955
The fund exists, organized by the Far West Ski Association. Contributions may be sent to the Jill Kinmont Fund, Far West Ski Association, Executive Offices, Huntington Hotel, Pasadena, California.
When she learned of the drive, Jill asked that any amount received beyond that necessary for her care be donated to the Olympic Games Fund. According to all the reports, that request seems to me most characteristic of a most optimistic and courageous young lady.