Brighton Welcomes Home World Champion Skeleton Racer

In Editor Choice, Local, Sports

A World Champion came home to Brighton over the weekend.

Nineteen-year-old Hallie Clarke was picked up at her family home in one of Brighton’s fire apparatus and driven through town with siren’s sounding by her grandfather who is a veteran firefighter making the final destination at the Brighton library on Saturday, March 9, 2024.

Clarke became the youngest female world champion taking gold at the 2024 World Championship Skeleton races in Winterberg, Germany on February 27, 2024.

Previously the Brighton native had her breakout season in the 2021-2022 Olympic year when she raced with IBSF World Cup debut for Team USA.

Despite being youngest on the tour, she earned two Silver Medals, a Top 10 at the World Championships and became the U20 Junior Champion.

Clarke said she’ll be wearing the maple leaf on her back “this time for good.”

Speaking to Today’s Northumberland at the Brighton event, Clarke said, “I’m really excited the town could come out. The support means so much. It’s really special.”

Clarke said she lived in Calgary at the time she got found the sport.

“By chance I just happened to walk past a sign that said, “learn to push” (term used in skeleton racing) and they had a ice-house where you practice the start.”

“It sounds so Canadian – sliding head first on ice. So I tried it and fell in love with it.”

That was just over five years ago.

“It’s always been a dream since I started to become a World Champion one day, but the fact that it happened this quick is surprising for me.”

Clarke’s mother was in Germany watching the races and celebrating with her mother being there was something she will never forget.

“They’ve supported me from the start. They’re the reason I’ve got this far in it. So getting to celebrate with them is everything.”

There are eight races in the season with one more ahead taking the teenager across the world to places like, China, Asia, Europe and now in North America.

“It’s amazing getting to go to all these places – I’m really lucky.”

But after being around the world competing, “it’s really nice to be home.”

Proud parents of Clarke mingled with people coming in with her father offering to take photos and her mother chatting with friends.

Members of Brighton Council, MP Philip Lawrence presented Clarke with certificates.

Local artist Lynn Vanderherverg presented Clark with a water colour painting she created.

The watercolour shows Clark heading down the track at the World Championships in Germany.

Clark’s mother used to teach figure skating to Vanderherverg’s daughter.

“She’d never let me do anything to help her out,” said Vanderherverg with a smile.

“I always wanted to give her some artwork and when Hallie won I thought, “perfect.”

Vanderherverg says the entire community is proud of Clarke.

“I think people are very proud. I love that so many people came out to cheer her on.”

One of those people who is extremely proud is Clarke’s grandfather, Bill Dingman who drove her to the event in one of Brighton’s firetrucks.

Dingman is a 28-year veteran of the fire department and couldn’t have been more honoured to drive Clarke in the fire truck.

“How many times do you win a World Championship?, said the beaming grandfather dressed in formal fire attire.

Dingman said he was a fan of the sport before his granddaughter became involved, but now it’s taken to a new level.

“There were a lot of tears,” Dingman said as he watched on television as Clarke embraced her mother at the end bottom of the hill in Germany.

Dingman always knew his granddaughter had what it takes to be a World Champion, but added, “not this soon.”

“There’s more ahead for sure.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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