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)
EducationMiddlebury College
OccupationSportscaster, skiing coach
Years active1955–2018
Kiki Cutter
(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[edit]

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[edit]

In 1956, he 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, he 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[edit]

In 1966, Beattie co-founded the World Cup for alpine skiing.[14] After stepping down as U.S. team coach in 1969, he founded the World Pro Ski Tour in 1970 and worked in promoting it.[19] He 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: the games of 1976, 1980, 1984,[2] and 1988.[20] He also covered Volleyball at the 1984 Summer Olympics.[21] Beattie later worked as ABC's winter sports correspondent, which also involved non-alpine sports,[22] and occasionally worked as an announcer for non-winter sports on ABC's Wide World of Sports program.[23]

He continued to manage the World Pro Ski Tour until 1982.[14] He started hosting ESPN skiing programs in 1985.[23]

Beattie authored or co-authored three books,[9] including My Ten Secrets of Skiing (Viking Press, NY; 1968)[24] and Bob Beattie's Learn to Ski (Bantam Books, 1967).[25]


Beattie was given the AT&T Skiing Award in 1983.[26] 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.[27]

Personal life[edit]

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[28][29] 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)[30] until his death in 2018.[6]

Beattie died on April 1, 2018, in Fruita, Colorado, from a long illness at the age of 85.[31][3][6]


  1. ^ "Robert Prime Beattie's Colorado Voter Registration". VoterRecords.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Morrill, Greg (February 28, 2013). "America's top alpine ski racing promoter". The Stowe Reporter. Stowe, Vermont. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Founder Of U.S. Ski Team, Bob Beattie, Passes Away". Team USA. April 2, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Martin, Frank W. (February 18, 1980). "Coaching or Kibitzing on the Olympics, Bob Beattie Is America's Indomitable Snowman". People. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Brown, Janice (November 14, 2016). "Manchester NH Athlete, Legendary Skiing Coach and Promoter, Sports Commentator & Hall of Famer: Robert P. "Bob" Beattie (1933–2018)". Cow Hamsphire Blog.
  6. ^ a b c d Sandomir, Richard (April 3, 2018). "Bob Beattie, 85, Olympic Ski Coach and ABC Sports Analyst, Dies". The New York Times.
  7. ^ McCarthy McPhaul, Meghan (April 2, 2018). "Remembering ski icon Bob Beattie: Manchester native was top athlete, coach, promoter and innovator". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Robert Beattie". National Ski Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d "Bob Beattie – Athlete – 1986". Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame. Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  10. ^ "Bob Beattie". Aspen Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  11. ^ "Post announces Beattie contract". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 30, 1965. p. 12.
  12. ^ "Beattie on leave". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. July 2, 1965. p. 17.
  13. ^ Eck, Frank H. (January 25, 1964). "Coach Beattie says U.S. skiers 2nd to Austrians". The Free Lance–Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. Associated Press. p. 6.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Meyer, John (April 3, 2012). "Pioneer Bob Beattie set the stage for U.S. ski racers". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  15. ^ "Beattie ducks controversy; explains dropping McCoy". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. February 1, 1968. p. 13.
  16. ^ Jerome, John (November 1968). "The Beattie Machine". Skiing: 77.
  17. ^ "Beattie to quit on April 1 as U.S. ski coach". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. UPI. December 3, 1968. p. 6.
  18. ^ "Bob Beattie quitting U.S. skiing berths". The Morning Record. Meriden, Connecticut. Associated Press. December 3, 1968. p. 10.
  19. ^ "World Pro Skiing 1980–81". Skiing. supplement: 61. October 1980.
  20. ^ The Washington Post (February 13, 1988). "ABC has new technology for Winter Olympics". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. TV Week section, p. 3. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  21. ^ "Games of the XXIII Olympiad, The {1984 Los Angeles Olympics} {1984/08/02}, Part 1: Boxing (Men), Volleyball (Women) (TV)". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  22. ^ Nidetz, Steve (December 8, 1989). "The Soviets Help Fuel A Most Chilling Adventure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Bob Beattie, the patriarch of American skiing, dies at 85". The Denver Post. April 2, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "My Ten Secrets of Skiing". WorldCat. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  25. ^ "Bob Beattie's Learn to Ski". WorldCat. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  26. ^ Lochner, Bob (March 12, 1992). "Skiing: Dave McCoy Fits Well With This Elite Group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  27. ^ "Ski Writer John Meyer Honored at Beaver Creek". United States Ski and Snowboard Association. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  28. ^ "Beattie-Cutter". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. Weddings and engagements. September 4, 1971. p. 3.
  29. ^ Anstine, Dennis (June 28, 1972). "Beatties keep skiing alive in June". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. p. 10.
  30. ^ "Marci Rose Beattie". BeenVerified.
  31. ^ Graham, Pat (April 2, 2018). "Bob Beattie, pioneer of Alpine skiing's World Cup circuit, dies at 85". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved April 2, 2018.