Buffs at the Winter Olympics

From left, Billy Kidd, Bob Beattie and Jimmie Heuga at the 1964 winter games. Photo courtesy of Billy Kidd

Fifty years ago, when the U.S. Ski Team arrived in Austria to compete in the 1964 Winter Olympics, no American male had ever brought home a medal in alpine skiing.

During the first two alpine events—downhill and giant slalom—the Americans came up empty-handed. But in the third and final event, the slalom, two CU-Boulder skiers changed the score. William “Billy” Kidd and Jimmie Heuga, both of whom were recruited to the CU-Boulder ski team by coach Bob Beattie, took silver and bronze respectively.

Heuga and Kidd’s two medals were not only a first for the men’s U.S. Ski Team, but also the first won in the Winter Olympics by an athlete with CU-Boulder ties.

The first Buffs to compete in the Winter Olympics were figure skater Donald Wilkinson Jenkins and alpine skier Wallace J. “Buddy” Werner who earned spots at the 1956 games at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Neither won a medal.

Since then, more than 70 athletes with CU-Boulder ties have skied, skated, luged and bobsledded in the Winter Olympics.

This year, at least three CU-Boulder students will compete at the games in Sochi, though none for the U.S. team. Alpine skier Luke Steyn will compete for Zimbabwe, slopestyle skier Julia Marino will compete for Paraguay and alpine skier Arman Serebrakian will compete for Armenia.

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