World Cup Co-Founder Bob Beattie died on Sunday evening. He was 85 years old.
Beattie coached the University of Colorado Ski Team in the late 1950’s before going on to coach the U.S. Ski Team through the 1960’s. During that time, the U.S. took home its first Olympic medals in men’s alpine skiing at the 1964 Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
He is, perhaps, best known for his role in co-founding the alpine skiing World Cup tour with French journalist Serge Lang and Honore Bonnet. The New Hampshire-native also helped start the World Pro Ski Tour in the 1970’s and changed the face of NASTAR racing. There’s hardly an aspect of ski racing, particularly in the U.S., that Beattie did not have a hand in.
“He was an innovator, a visionary, and he was persistent enough to take his ideas and make them into reality,” said former national team member Billy Kidd to The Aspen Times in 2003. “He went against the grain in a number of ways. He had people that disliked the way he did things and probably disliked him, but as you know, a lot of successful people make enemies along the way and it’s easy to criticize. But go back and look at the ski team, he changed the sport in America dramatically.”
Ski racing fans may also recognize his voice from his time as a commentator with ABC Sports during the coverage of the 1976, 1980, and 1984 Winter Olympic Games. Beattie remained a prominent voice in the ski racing community until the very end, speaking critically of FIS, the World Cup tour, and U.S. Ski & Snowboard. His legacy will certainly live on for decades to come.
The Ski Racing Media editorial team welcomes you to share your memories or thoughts on Bob Beattie’s impact on the sport, which may be used in an upcoming tribute. Please email them to Digital Content Editor Gabbi Hall at [email protected] with the subject line: Remembering Bob Beattie.