With the passing of Deedee Corradini, who earned her master’s in psychology from the U, the world lost a pioneer who worked relentlessly for the rights of women in Utah and across the globe. While perhaps best known as the first and only female mayor of Salt Lake City, she later spent more than 10 years leading the movement to make women’s ski jumping an official Olympic sport. In 2011, the International Olympic Committee added it to the Olympic program and, in 2014, she was present to see her efforts come to fruition at the Sochi Winter Games when 30 female athletes competed in the normal hill event. While pleased with this progress, the job was not complete.
“We have only one event, and that’s the normal hill jump. The men have normal hill, large hill, the team event and Nordic combined,” Corradini said. “We’re already thinking 2018 to become really equal with the men, so we still have our work cut out for us.”
As mayor, she served at the helm when Salt Lake City earned its Winter Olympic bid, and was the first woman to bring home the Olympic flag after accepting it on behalf of Salt Lake City in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. As part of her Olympic legacy, Corradini bolstered the city’s transportation systems, securing funding and approval for the initial lines of the TRAX light rail—which now serves tens of thousands of students and staff everyday in their commute to and from the U—and helping push through reconstruction of I-15.
After deciding not to run for re-election in 2000, Corradini taught at Furman University, became president of the International Women’s Forum, led the aforementioned Women’s Ski Jumping U.S.A. and, with YWCA of Salt Lake, worked to encourage more women to run for public office.
“My concern has always been that there are not enough women in public office. I’m just thrilled to be working with all these different parties to come together to make a serious effort in Utah,” she said.