Bob Beattie (skiing)

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Bob Beattie
Bob Beattie 1966.jpg
Bob Beattie in 1966
Robert Prime Beattie

(1933-01-24)January 24, 1933
DiedApril 1, 2018(2018-04-01) (aged 85)
Education Middlebury College
Occupation Sportscaster, skiing coach
Years active1955–2018
(m. 1971;div. 1973)

Cheryl Britton
(m. 1980;div. 1987)

Marci Beattie (Until his death)

Robert Prime Beattie [1] (January 24, 1933 – April 1, 2018) was an American skiing coach, skiing promoter and commentator for ABC Sports and ESPN. He was head coach of the U.S. Ski Team from 1961 to 1969 [2] and co-founded the Alpine Skiing World Cup in 1966. His work as a ski-racing commentator for ABC included four Winter Olympic Games, from 1976 through 1988.


Early life

Beattie was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on January 24, 1933, [2] [3] to Robert Archibald Beattie (1904–1975), a sales manager for a roofing company, [4] and Katherine Simpson (née Prime; 1906–1995), a homemaker. [5] [6] He had a younger brother, John M. [5] He graduated from Manchester Central High School in 1950. [5] [7] He attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where he participated in several sports, including football, tennis, cross country, and skiing. [2] [4] After graduating in 1955 with a degree in education, he remained at Middlebury as an assistant coach. [2]

Coaching career

In 1956, Beattie was named acting coach of the school's ski team after coach Bobo Sheehan left to coach the alpine skiers on the 1956 U.S. Olympic Team. [2] In 1957, Beattie became the head skiing coach for the University of Colorado in Boulder, and during his tenure the team won the NCAA national titles in 1959 and 1960. [8] [2] In 1961, the U.S. Ski Association named Beattie the U.S. Ski Team's head alpine coach. [9] [10] He continued to work concurrently for the university until 1965. [9] [11] [12]

During his coaching years, Beattie was known as a demanding coach, [13] driving his athletes hard. [2] [14] [4] At the 1964 Winter Olympics in Austria, the Beattie-coached U.S. team won two medals, both in the men's slalom: a silver earned by Billy Kidd and a bronze by Jimmie Heuga. [14] They were the country's first-ever Olympic medals in men's skiing. [2] [14] During the 1968 Winter Olympics in France, the U.S. Ski Team won no medals, and Beattie was criticized for his tough coaching style. [4] [15] [16] He stepped down as the U.S. Ski Team's coach in April 1969. [4] [17] [18]

Promotion and commentating

In 1966, Beattie co-founded the World Cup for alpine skiing. [14] After stepping down as U.S. team coach in 1969, [19] he founded the World Pro Ski Tour in 1970 and worked in promoting it, [20] and became a NASTAR commissioner in 1970. [14] ABC Sports hired him as a ski-racing commentator, where he was frequently paired with Frank Gifford, a former NFL running back. Beattie's television work included alpine commentary during ABC's coverage of four Winter Olympics in 1976, 1980, 1984, [2] and 1988, [21] and also covered volleyball at the 1984 Summer Olympics. [22] He later worked as ABC's winter sports correspondent, which also involved non-alpine sports, [23] and occasionally worked as an announcer for non-winter sports on ABC's Wide World of Sports program. [24]

Beattie continued to manage the World Pro Ski Tour until 1982, [14] and started hosting ESPN skiing programs in 1985. [24]

He authored or co-authored three books, [9] including My Ten Secrets of Skiing (Viking Press, NY; 1968) [25] and Bob Beattie's Learn to Ski (Bantam Books, 1967). [26]


Beattie was given the AT&T Skiing Award in 1983. [27] He was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1984. [8] He was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1986. [9] He was the 1997 recipient of the International Ski Federation's Journalist Award. [28]

Personal life

Beattie had two children, Zeno and Susan, from his first marriage to Ann Dwinnell. [3] [6] His second marriage was to Olympic skier Kiki Cutter [29] [30] and lasted from 1971 to 1973. [4] He married a third time in 1980, to Cheryl Britton, a manager of a local secondhand clothing store, [4] and that marriage lasted until 1987.[ citation needed ] He was married to Marci Rose Beattie (née Cohen) [31] until his death in 2018. [6]

Beattie died on April 1, 2018, in Fruita, Colorado, from a long illness at the age of 85. [32] [3] [6]

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