Zali Steggall, OAM (born 16 April 1974 in Sydney) is Australia's most internationally successful alpine skier, winning a bronze medal in slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, and a World Championship gold medal in 1999. She is Australia's first and so far only medalist in alpine skiing, first individual medalist for Australia and Australia's first female medalist. Steggall's long Olympic career extended from Albertville in 1992 to Salt Lake City in 2002. Later in her career Steggall was unable to fully adapt to the new slalom skis.
Born in Manly, New South Wales, she and her family lived in France from 1978 until 1988, and she started ski racing while living there, at the ski resort of Morzine in the French Alps. Her parents had intended to stay for only 18 months, but they liked the lifestyle so much that they stayed. She came from a sporting family; her grandfather played ten Tests for Australia in rugby union. She and elder brother Zeke grew up on the snow. Steggall won a European age championship at the age of 10, improved to be a member of the French junior skiing team at the age of 14. Steggall was educated in Sydney at the Queenwood School for Girls following the family's return to Australia.
Despite moving back to Australia, the Steggall siblings regularly travelled to the northern hemisphere to train. She was also sent overseas by the Australian Ski Institute to train under Austrian alpine coach Helmut Spiegl.
Steggall was selected to make her Olympic debut in Albertville in 1992, at the age of 18. She came 23rd out of 44 entries in the giant slalom event, and failed to finish the slalom or the combined event. At the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, the size of the field was scaled back. Steggall came 22nd out of 28 athletes in the slalom and 24th and last in the giant slalom. She withdrew from the super-G and was unplaced in the overall standings.
In December 1995, Steggall broke into the top 10 in a World Cup event for the first time, placing 10th in the slalom event at Sankt Anton. In January 1996, Steggall came fourth at the World Championships in Sestriere, Italy, missing bronze by just 0.04 s.
Steggall came into the 1998 Olympics in Nagano as one of the medal favourites. Three months earlier, she had become the first Australian woman to win a World Cup event in alpine skiing, after winning the slalom event at Park City, Utah. She posted the fastest time in both of her runs to win by 0.76 s. She then came fifth, sixth and tenth in the next three World Cup events to be ranked sixth in the world. Steggall then won a Europa Cup event at Piancavallo. She won Australia's first individual Olympic medal with a bronze in slalom skiing. Her time of 1 m 32.67 s was only 0.27 s behind the winning time. She took 45.96 s on her first run and 46.71 s on the second. In December, Steggall placed second in a World Cup event at Mammoth Mountain, missing the gold medal by 0.01 s to Anja Pärson. She had earlier placed seventh at Park City.
Steggall's success prompted the Australian Olympic Committee to expand the Australian Ski Institute into the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia. It was given a million-dollar annual budget and for the first time, Australia had a federal government-funded full-time training program to accompany the Australian Institute of Sport. It operated in six sports and supported 37 athletes and resulted in an immediate upturn in results.
In 1999, she won the slalom at the World Championships held in Vail, Colorado, in the United States. That was her last podium finish at global level. In February 2000, she came 10th at Aare, the last top-10 result in her career.
Her career ended on a bad note at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She failed to complete her first run and was eliminated.
Steggall retired in 2002 after the Olympics, and became a mother in 2003. She now lives in Sydney and successfully trained to become a barrister. Steggall married David Cameron in September 1999. Cameron represented Australia at the 1996 Summer Olympics in the single sculls rowing. However, the pair broke up in mid-2007. Steggall said that Cameron had left her for another woman. In 2008, she announced that she was engaged to marketing executive Tim Irving, 11 years her senior, and that they would marry later in the year. She said that she had no plans to have further children.
Her other sporting interests included figure skating and windsurfing.
Steggall received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007. She was inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport 'Best of the Best' in 2001 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2004.