Alice Georgia Simmerling, cyclist, alpine skier, freestyle skier, ski cross skier (born 11 March 1989 in Vancouver, BC). Georgia Simmerling is the only Canadian athlete to participate in three different sports at three Olympic Games. She helped win bronze and set a Canadian record in the women’s team pursuit cycling competition at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. She also competed in alpine skiing at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; in freestyle skiing at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games; and in cycling again at the 2020 Olympic Summer Games. Simmerling also won two gold medals at the 2019 Pan American Track Cycling Championships, as well as five silver and four bronze medals in World Cup ski cross events.
Early Years and Family
Georgia Simmerling is the youngest of four children of Carol and Karl Simmerling. Her brother Christian was a linebacker for the Calgary Stampeders during the 2004 and 2005 Canadian Football League (CFL) seasons. Another brother, Julian, was a linebacker for the University of Calgary Dinos from 2006 to 2010.
Georgia was skiing regularly by age six. She and her brothers would ski on Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. Simmerling also participated in soccer, baseball and basketball. While attending Vancouver Waldorf School, she was grateful for a diverse level of education. She experienced gardening and hiking instead of just “sitting in front of a computer screen.” ( See also Alternative Education.)
As Simmerling progressed as a skier, she frequently missed school to participate in competitions. She competed in the BC Winter Games when she was 12 and went to France for summer ski training when she was 14. Her first International Ski Federation (FIS) event at age 15 was a women’s giant slalom competition in Panorama, British Columbia. She finished 18th and was the youngest skier in the top 20. She followed that with eight top-10 results in FIS events throughout Canada in 2005, including a fourth-place finish in a slalom event in Val St. Come, Quebec, on 11 December 2005.
At the age of 16 in autumn 2005, Simmerling temporarily moved from British Columbia to Quebec to train. She also participated in various Pontiac GMC Cup events. On 20 January 2006, she won her first FIS race, at a women’s giant slalom event in Bromont, Quebec, with a time of 1:53.29.
Following her graduation from the Vancouver Waldorf School in 2007, Simmerling made the Canadian Alpine Skiing Development Team at age 18. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, she had “two of the funnest” years of her life. She weightlifted regularly to become the “fittest, strongest, and fastest” athlete possible. However, during this time, Simmerling injured her knee while training. She subsequently became concerned about her weight and obsessed with training. As a result, she developed an eating disorder and suffered from bulimia for almost a decade.
Alpine Ski Team
Despite her personal challenges, Simmerling had further success in alpine skiing. She won the giant slalom at the 2007 South American Cup in Catedral, Argentina; an FIS giant slalom event in Mount Norquay, Alberta; an FIS giant slalom event in Rossland, BC, on 5 April 2008; and two downhill events at the 2008 South American Cup in La Parva, Chile.
Despite marginal success at the World Cup level, Simmerling was named to the Canadian Olympic team for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. (The announcement came on the same day that she was airlifted from a ski hill in Switzerland after crashing in a race.) Her best Olympic result was 27th place in the super giant slalom. Simmerling would have one more victory in alpine skiing — a downhill gold in a Nor-Am Cup in Aspen, Colorado, on 14 February 2011.
In 2011, Simmerling made the transition to ski cross. From 2013 to 2018, she won five silver medals and four bronze medals in World Cup women’s ski cross events. She finished 14th in women’s ski cross at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. She also finished seventh at the 2017 World Freestyle Skiing Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Simmerling has suffered numerous injuries throughout her skiing career. She once bit her tongue so badly in a fall that she needed 50 stitches to fix it. Other injuries include a broken jaw and broken teeth after accidentally skiing off a cliff in Chile in 2005; a broken neck and back after a fall in Park City, Utah in 2012; a shattered wrist in 2015; and two broken legs and multiple torn ligaments in her left knee from a World Cup women’s ski cross race on 20 January 2018, which forced her to miss the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
In June 2014, Simmerling attended a Cycling Canada ID Camp in Los Angeles, and was instantly “hooked.” After breaking her wrist in seven different places while skiing in 2015, Simmerling trained very hard on the bike. She soon realized she had a chance to make the Canadian Track Cycling team in time for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
At the 2015 Canadian Track Cycling Championships in Milton, Ontario, Simmerling competed in women’s team pursuit for Team West Coast alongside Jasmin Glaesser, Laura Brown and Stephanie Roorda, and won gold. The performance was strong enough to qualify for team pursuit at a World Cup competition in Hong Kong on 16 January 2016, where Canada beat Great Britain in the gold medal race. Simmerling then made the Canadian team for the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships in London, England. She and Glaesser, Beveridge and Lay lost to the United States in the gold medal race to take silver.
At the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, Simmerling won a bronze medal with Lay, Glaesser and Beveridge, beating New Zealand by nearly four seconds and setting a Canadian record time of 4:16.629.
After focussing on ski cross, Simmerling returned to cycling from 2019 to 2021. Her achievements included two gold medals at the 2019 Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Cochabamba, Bolivia; a women’s team pursuit silver medal at a World Cup competition in Cambridge, New Zealand, in 2019; and another women’s team pursuit bronze medal in Brisbane, Australia, in 2019. At the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Simmerling and her team finished fourth in the women’s team pursuit.
On 14 September 2021, Simmerling announced her retirement from cycling at age 32. She had already retired from ski cross in 2018. In the summer of 2021, Simmerling announced her engagement to girlfriend Stephanie Labbé, the goalkeeper who helped Canada win a gold medal in women’s soccer at the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. Now based in Calgary, Simmerling has launched a female-focused sports agency called AG Sports Inc.