Bob Beattie: Talks about 50 year milestone of coaching first U.S Alpine skiing winning team

NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. -- 50- years ago, the U.S Olympic Alpine Skiing team brought home the United States' first medals in the sport.

On this milestone year, the team's coach, Bob Beattie, reminisces on the ground-breaking year decades ago, from his North Palm Beach home.

In the 1960s, Beattie was known as a tough, aggressive coach.

“People say I remember you back in those old days and you were crazy,” Beattie laughed.

But now, he's known as the man who changes the landscape of Alpine Skiing in the United States.

"It's a big honor to coach the Olympic team," Beattie said.

He was selected to be the Olympic coach after serving as the Head Ski Coach at The University of Colorado, where he led that team to numerous NCAA championships.

During the 1964 Winter Olympics, Beattie made an open, bold promise that the United States would return home with a medal for the first time ever in the sport.

"I guaranteed everybody a win and we were really up against a wall….They looked at me like I was nuts."

Beattie also wanted to prove to the dominant Europeans that the U.S could compete at their level.

"We wanted the U.S. Ski Team to really emerge as a power," Beattie said.

Under Beattie's guidance, it did. Skiers Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga took home the Silver and Bronze medals.

“My Dad was there from New Hampshire. It was a huge affair, the greatest moment of my life,” Beattie explained.

It was a turning point in the game that kick-started an explosive popularity for the sport in the United States.

Beattie says 50 years later, his passion is unchanged for the sport. He stays glued to the current Olympics, taking in how much the sport has grown.

“I hope to some small degree I’ve been a part of it,” Beattie said.

Beattie is also a co-founder of The World Cup. He also covered four Winter Olympics as a commentator.

 
 

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