Born: September 7, 1910 - Lake Placid, New York (USA)
Died: January 17, 2002 - Saranac Lake (USA)
Jack Shea won two Olympic gold medals (500 m and 1500 m) in the Olympic
Games 1932, in his hometown Lake Placid. He was North American speed
skating champion 1929 and national champion 1930.
Shea would have
been one of the favourites for the 1936 Olympics, but Lake Placid had a
large Jewish community whose rabbi asked him not to compete in Hitler's
Germany, and Shea decided not to go. He later said he had no regrets
about foregoing a chance to skate at the 1936 Olympic Winter Games
stating, "I'm proud I didn't go. It was the right thing to do."
stayed involved in the Olympic Movement throughout his life. He was
chosen to read the Olympic oath during the opening ceremonies in 1932.
As supervisor of the town of North Elba, which includes Lake Placid,
Shea played a major role in persuading Olympic officials to award the
1980 Winter Games to his hometown. In December 2001, he participated in
the Olympic Torch Relay for the Salt Lake City Games, carrying the torch
into the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, where he had won his gold medals,
and lit the cauldron.
He had a family of Olympians. His son, Jim
Shea Sr. competed in the nordic combined and cross-country skiing in
Innsbruck 1964. Seventy years after Jack Shea won his Olympic gold
medals his grandson, Jim Shea Jr., followed in his footsteps by reading
the Olympic oath and winning Olympic gold in skeleton in Salt Lake City
2002. During his race, Jim Shea had a picture of his grandfather stuck
in his helmet. The Sheas became the first 3-generation Olympic family
Jack Shea died January 17th 2002 from internal injuries
he suffered in a car accident a day earlier a few blocks from home. At
age 91, Jack Shea was America's oldest living Winter Games gold
In 2000, U.S. Speedskating created The Jack Shea Award,
which symbolizes dedication to Olympic excellence, citizenship and the
betterment of mankind through sport. Shea was the first recipient, Eric
Heiden the second.
Bjarte Hetland, December 7, 2013
Podia at championships
|1932||1 ||Olympic Winter Games 500 meters||Lake Placid||USA|
|1 ||Olympic Winter Games 1500 meters||Lake Placid||USA|
|500m||0:45.0||Feb 14, 1931||Lake Placid||USA|
|1500m||2:25.2||Feb 15, 1931||Lake Placid||USA|