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Remembering Olympians

by Legacy Staff

As the 2018 Olympics get underway, we’re taking a moment to remember winter Olympians who have died this year.

As the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea get underway, we’re taking a moment to remember winter Olympians who have died this year. We salute the many great athletes who have represented their countries at Olympics past, as well as the coaches, officials, and volunteers who help make Olympic dreams come true. 

Bobsledder Steven Holcomb (1980–2017)


A three-time Olympian who competed as a bobsled driver for Team USA in Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010, and Sochi 2014, Holcomb was expected to be a part of the U.S. team that would compete in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In 2010, he broke a 62-year drought, piloting the American four-man bobsled team to its first gold medal since 1948. The bronze medals he won in both the four-man and two-man bobsled events in Sochi were posthumously upgraded to silver after the gold medalist from Russia was stripped of his medals for doping violations. Read more

Figure skating leader Mary Kathleen Slack (1945–2017)

Kathy Slack was “a national pairs competitor, a national level judge, and served as U.S. Team Leader for many international and world/ISU level competitions,” most notably as U.S. Team Leader for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Read more

Physical therapist Eric Paul Dube (1987–2017)

A physical therapist for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s snowboard cross team, Dube was slated to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.  Read more

Hockey player Zarley Zalapski (1968–2017)

A member of the Canadian team that finished fourth in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Zalapski played for the Calgary Flames and other teams during his career in the NHL. Read more

Hockey player Leonard Ceglarski Sr. (1926–2017)

Ceglarski was serving in the Marines when he was named to the U.S.Olympic hockey team that would win silver at the 1952 Olympics in Oslo. He went on to a successful high school and college hockey coaching career, reaching the National Championship game three times as head coach at Clarkson University and coaching his alma mater Boston College for two decades. When he retired in 1992, he held the record for most winning coach at the college level, according to his Wicked Local obit. Read more

Hockey player James Johanson (1964–2018)

As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, Johanson helped the Badgers win an NCAA championship. Later, he was “extremely honored to represent his country in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Winter Games.” Read more

Figure skating official Susan Johnson (1937–2018)

During a nearly 6-decade career as a skating judge, Johnson “judged figure skating at fourteen U.S. Championships, three World Championships, and the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.” Read more

Cross-country skier Eric Luoma (1929–2018)

Born in Finland, Luoma immigrated to Canada in 1950 and later was selected to represent his adopted nation in cross-country skiing at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. “Eric was a founding member of Foothills Nordic Ski Club, built the first ski jump at Paskapoo (now Canada Olympic Park), and helped to construct the first ski trails in the Calgary and Bragg Creek area,” according to his obituary in the Calgary Herald. Read more

Cross-country skier Reijo Matias Puiras (1952–2017)

Puiras “worked hard to earn a spot on the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team and enjoyed success at a local, national and international level,” according to his Chronicle Herald obit. He competed in the 1974 World Cross-Country Ski Championships in Sweden and in the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, and was also “very proud to be a 10-time City of Thunder Bay cross country ski champion.” Read more

Ski jumper Henry “Hank” Dube (1926–2017)

Dube enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served for two years until it was discovered that he was underage. In 1946, he re-entered the military and began a 23-year career in the Army, serving as an “instructor of skiing, mountaineering, river boat navigation and cold weather survival and warfare techniques.” While stationed in Austria, Dube competed in Alpine skiing and was as an alternate on the 1948 U.S. Olympic ski jumping team. Read more

Ski official Bruce Crane (1947–2017)

“A noted national and international ski racing official, he spent much of his life serving his passion both professionally and personally in the sport of ski racing,” states his ParkRecord obituary. Crane served at two Olympics: he was the head referee for alpine skiing at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, and was an assistant manager for ski jumping and nordic combined during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Read more

Downhill skier Aileen Bott (1923–2017)

Bott was born in Edmonton, Alberta, where she was a competitive skier and speed skater. According to her obituary in the New Hampshire Union Leader, “her skiing ability qualified her for the Canadian Olympic ski team.” Read more

Snow equipment designer Claude Brandt (1933–2017)

Brandt wasn’t an Olympic athlete, but he made invaluable contributions to winter sport. “For the Lake Placid 1980 Olympics, Claude designed and built the first winch grooming system for a tracked snow grooming vehicle, needed to groom the ski jump outrun, and a prototype snow tiller for the icy X-C course,” states his obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune. Read more

Ski patroler Gordon Griffin (1936–2017)

Griffin “participated in Ski Patrol during the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, NY and the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada,” according to his obituary in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Read more

Ski coach Huntington “Skip” Sheldon (1930–2017)

A medical doctor, Sheldon was a pioneer in the study of electron microscopy, according to his obituary. While a professor at McGill University in Montreal, Dr. Sheldon was heavily involved in cross-country skiing and served as chairman of the Canadian Ski Association. He also participated in the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck (1976) and Lake Placid (1980) as a coach. Read more

Olympic volunteer Lorne Everett Elder (1931–2017)

“Captivated by the mountains,” the ski lover volunteered at the 2010 Winter Olympics as a “Weasel Worker.” A young 79 years old at the time, Elder would stay “up all night to get the downhill ski runs groomed and ready for the Olympic athletes.”  Read more

Olympic medal designer Gini Caron Shurtleff (1955–2017)

Shurtleff was a graphic designer and jewelry designer. Her work “can be seen in the design of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic medals as well as an abundant collection of rings, watches, and necklaces,” according to her Salt Lake Tribune obit.  Read more

Square dancer Fred Whitley (1927–2017)

An avid square dancer, he “danced with his wife Peggy as the world watched the Opening Ceremony of the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.”  Read more

Figure skating technician Charles Racz (1929–2017)

During the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Racz “was honoured to be the service technician for figure skating events and closing ceremonies.” Read more

Olympic medical volunteer Fred Weinstein (1939–2017)

Weinstein “followed his heart and passion to pursue a career in dentistry – and what a career it was!” Among many career highlights, Weinstein served as a volunteer endodontist at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and “had the distinction of performing an acute root canal on world boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard back in the ’80s.”  Read more

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