Olympic medalist Jimmie Heuga, a star of the 1964 Olympic Winter Games and one of the U.S. Ski Team’s greatest ski racers, has passed away. His death on Monday, February 8, 2010 was 46 years to the day after he won a bronze medal behind Billy Kidd’s silver in the 1964 Olympic slalom. His passing saddens all of us who love skiing and the Olympic spirit, especially his U.S. Ski Team family, just days before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Jimmie Heuga was 66 years old and suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, diagnosed when he was just 26 and at the height of his racing career.
Heuga gained worldwide acclaim for his 1964 Olympic medal. But his real contribution was after he was diagnosed with MS, and dedicated his life to research and innovative treatment of the disease. MS is a degenerative disease in which connections between nerves literally break, affecting movement, and — eventually — breathing.
In case you are wondering why a blog about green travel and green cars includes a posting on a skier’s death it is because a very close family member of mine also suffered for years from MS. His death was twenty-one years ago today, on February 9, 1989. And because I love skiing. And because I have a profound respect for the work Jimmie Heuga did founding his center in Edwards, Colorado, near Vail, to spread his positive can do philosophy and help MS sufferers.
He will be missed. More about Jimmie Heuga on the next page.