Deedee Corradini, the only female mayor in the history of Salt Lake City, who helped bring the Winter Olympics to Utah and supported women’s ski jumping, has died. She was 70.
Corradini, a non-smoker, died Sunday at her home in Park City, Utah, from the effects of lung cancer, according to a Women’s Ski Jumping USA news release. As the president of that organization for 10 years, she led a push to get women’s ski jumping in the Olympics for the first time at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
As mayor of Salt Lake City from 1992 to 2000, she was part of an effort to bring the Winter Olympics to Utah in 2002. She helped get a light-rail project built before the events, and traveled around the world meeting with International Olympic Committee members.
She received the Olympic flag on behalf of Salt Lake City at the closing ceremonies of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
“Deedee had so much grit and energy. She was a great role model for women as a leader,” former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson told the Salt Lake Tribune. “She always said ‘I can do the job as well as any man, even better’.”
But she also endured controversy during her tenure leading the city. Some members of the City Council called on her to step down after it was made public that she asked for cash gifts and loans to pay off $231,000 of a $805,000 she owed in a failed energy corporation that went bankrupt, the Tribune reported.
Corradini wasn’t charged, but her office was also tainted somewhat by the Olympics bribery scandal that led to two Salt Lake bid executives being tried on federal racketeering charges after Utah showered $1 million in cash, gifts and other favors on International Olympic Committee members. They were acquitted.
“She wasn’t perfect,” Wilson said. “She did some things that were sometimes controversial. But she never let those things deter her.”
Peter Jerome, founder of Women’s Ski Jumping USA, called her a force who was amazing to watch as she successfully lobbied for women’s inclusion in Olympic ski jumping.
Corradini was born April 11, 1944, in Providence, R.I., and attended school in Lebanon and Syria as a child, when her father was a university professor overseas. She earned a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Utah.
Recently, she had been helping with a push to get more women into public office in Utah. Corradini and Utah Rep. Sheryl Allen were Utah’s representatives at Vision 2020, a national effort commemorating the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement, the Deseret News reported.