Sarah Burke's friends will bring their snowflakes to Sochi, wearing necklaces shaped like the snowflake tattoo the late Canadian star had etched on her foot.
"When they accepted halfpipe skiing, my first thought was, 'This is Sarah's Olympics,'" said one of Burke's many protégés, American halfpipe skier Angeli VanLaanen.
Each time an athlete in the new Olympic sports of ski halfpipe and slopestyle steps into the starting gate, they'll have Burke to thank.
A beloved mentor among her competition, Burke lobbied hard for a number of causes: Equal pay for women in action sports, inclusion of all the freeskiing disciplines for women in the X Games and, ultimately, acceptance of those events into the Olympic Games.
Burke died Jan. 19, 2012, nine days after a training accident on a halfpipe in Park City, Utah, and about nine months after the International Olympic Committee said 'yes' to her longtime dream.
The four-time Winter X Games champion was 29, in the prime of her career.
It was a loss that stole away the soul of the sport and its best skier. Burke was the first woman to land a 720-degree jump, a 900 and a 1080 in a halfpipe in competition. She would've been the favorite to win halfpipe skiing's first Olympic gold medal. Instead, it hits the biggest stage in sports looking for a star — trying to replace the irreplaceable.
"A lot of people say she's still the most influential girl in freeskiing today," said Mike Hanley, a longtime freestyle skier and coach. "She pushed the technical level of the sport so far. But she had such an amazing sense of balance in life, between the image she put out and the level of technical skiing she was capable of. She was the full package that I'd hope all the girls out there are aspiring for."
Instead of everyone chasing Burke in Sochi, there will be three or four top contenders. They include Maddie Bowman, the 20-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., who is coming off a win at the Winter X Games. VanLaanen, who overcame a scary and hard-to-detect bout with Lyme disease, could be in the mix.
There's also Canada's Roz Groenewoud, a one-time teammate of Burke's, who is rounding into form after knee injuries. Before every contest, "Roz G" and Burke used to stand at the top and shout, "Let's stay on top, one-two, one-two."
It's a lonelier starting tent these days.
"She was extremely driven, extremely competitive, wanted to win, wanted to do her best, but it never colored who she was," Groenewoud said. "It never made her less compassionate or less generous with complements or anything like that. It's a good lesson for people outside of sports, as well. A good universal message."