Debbie Armstrong

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Debbie Armstrong
— Alpine skier —
Disciplines Downhill, Super G,
Giant Slalom, Slalom,
Born (1963-12-06) December 6, 1963 (age 53)
Salem, Oregon, U.S.
Height 5 ft 5 in (165 cm)
World Cup debut December 8, 1982
(age 19)
Retired March 1988 (age 24)
Teams 2 - (1984, 1988)
Medals 1 (1 gold)
World Championships
Teams 2 - (1985, 1987)
Medals 0
World Cup
Seasons 6 - (1983-1988)
Wins 0
Podiums 1
Overall titles 0 - (20th in 1985)
Discipline titles 0 - (12th in GS, 1984)

Deborah Rae "Debbie" Armstrong (born December 6, 1963) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from Seattle, Washington. She was the first gold medalist from the U.S. in women's alpine skiing in 12 years, winning the giant slalom at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

Racing career[edit]

Born in Salem, Oregon, Armstrong grew up in Seattle and was a multi-sport athlete at Garfield High School; in addition to ski racing, she also played basketball and soccer. After being named to the U.S. Ski Team, she broke a leg and was unable to compete. She finished second in the combined at the 1983 U.S. Nationals, and placed third in a World Cup Super G in early January 1984, five weeks before the Olympics.

At the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, she became the first American woman to win a gold medal in skiing since Barbara Cochran won gold 12 years earlier in 1972 at Sapporo. Taking the silver medal behind her at Jahorina was Sun Valley's Christin Cooper. Later in those games, Phil Mahre and Bill Johnson became the first American men to win Olympic gold in alpine skiing, and Steve Mahre took the silver in the men's slalom behind his twin brother. All five alpine medalists from the U.S. were from the Northwest.

At the World Championships, Armstrong placed 4th in the giant slalom in 1985 and 6th in the Super-G in 1987. She finished 13th in the giant slalom at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. She completed her World Cup career with 18 top ten finishes: 7 in the downhill, three in the Super-G, five in the giant slalom, and three in the combined.[1]

World Cup top tens[edit]

Season Date Location Race Place
1983 15 Dec 1982 Italy San Sicario, Italy Slalom 7th
29 Jan 1983 Switzerland Les Diablerets, Switzerland Downhill 5th
1984 08 Jan 1984 France Puy St. Vincent, France Super G 3rd
29 Jan 1984 France St. Gervais, France Combined 6th
29 Jan 1984 Giant Slalom 5th
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1984 Winter Olympics
21 Mar 1984 West Germany Zwiesel, West Germany Giant Slalom 9th
1985 15 Dec 1984 Italy Madonna di Campiglio, Italy Giant Slalom 5th
17 Dec 1984 Italy Santa Caterina, Italy Giant Slalom 4th
09 Jan 1985 Combined 8th
Italy 1985 World Championships
09 Mar 1985 Canada Banff, AB, Canada Downhill 8th
10 Mar 1985 Super G 7th
17 Mar 1985 United States Waterville Valley, NH, USA Giant Slalom 10th
1986 07 Dec 1985 Italy Sestriere, Italy Super G 4th
12 Dec 1985 France Val d'Isère, France Downhill 5th
13 Dec 1985 Downhill 7th
06 Jan 1986 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Maribor, Yugoslavia Combined 6th
1987 12 Dec 1986 France Val d'Isère, France Downhill 6th
13 Dec 1986 Downhill 4th
Switzerland 1987 World Championships


Since her retirement from competitive skiing following the 1988 World Cup season, Armstrong has led various humanitarian causes, including the Debbie Armstrong Say No to Alcohol and Drugs campaign; the SKIFORALL Foundation, which opens skiing events to the disabled; and Global ReLeaf Sarajevo, which seeks to reforest Sarajevo after the Bosnian war.

Then Debbie served as an enthusiastic ambassador for Taos Ski Valley, giving away free early morning lessons and U.S. Ski Team stickers for fans of the team. Ski Racing magazine reported a few years later that Debbie nearly died as the result of a tick bite she suffered while hiking. Debbie apparently opted for a dangerous procedure that, while it killed the tick, resulted in the release of all of the tick's toxins at once.

Today, she serves as Alpine Competitive Program Director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, a world-renowned ski club located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Debbie Armstrong developed her racing skills in the 1970s at the Alpental ski area at Snoqualmie Pass, an hour east of Seattle on I-90. The run "Debbie's Gold" and the "Armstrong's Express" high-speed quad chairlift are named for her.[2]


  1. ^ - results - Debbie Armstrong - accessed 2012-01-06
  2. ^ Summit at Snoqualmie - trail maps - accessed 2010-03-11

External links[edit]