America’s oldest living Winter Olympics gold medallist has died. Jack Shea of Lake Placid was killed Monday afternoon in a car crash.
Shea won two speed skating gold medals in his hometown at the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Games. His son Jim competed at the 1964 Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria. Shea’s grandson, Jim Jr., has qualified for the U.S. Olympic skeleton team, making the Sheas the first American family to send three generations to the Winter Olympics.
Matt Roy is the executive director of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation in Lake Placid. He says Shea was dedicated to winter sports his entire life:
(Roy) “I think the best way to sum Jack up wasÂ¿an incredibly spry, intelligent, articulate 91-year-oldÂ¿. And he was incredibly patrioticÂ¿ I heard him talk numerous on occasionsÂ¿ and always talk about his pride at representing his family, his country, his town, and the Olympic movement.”
Roy says the Shea family has been active in the Lake Placid community. He says that while the death was tragic, Shea did know that the family Olympic tradition would continue.
(Roy) “I’m extremely grateful that he knew that his grandson had succeeded in his Olympic quest, but it’s also very tragic that he was looking so much forward to seeing Jimmy walk in the opening ceremonies and compete at the games.”
State police say Shea’s car was hit by a van whose driver faces drunken-driving charges. Jack Shea was 91.