SHEA Jack (1911 - 2002) United States / Speed skating
Jack Shea, the america's oldest living Winter Games gold medalist died from injuries in a car accident at 91 a few days before Salt Lake City Games. Jack Shea won two gold medals in speedskating at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, his hometown. When the Winter Games came for the first time in 1932, the 22-year-old Shea skated past the Scandinavian stars to win gold in the 500-meter event. He also won the 1,500 meters. After he graduated from Dartmouth in 1934, Shea was a stronger competitor and had a chance at winning more Olympic medals at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936. But Lake Placid had a large Jewish community whose rabbi asked him not to compete in Hitler's Germany, and Shea agreed. Then in 1980, he made it a personal quest to help persuade the International Olympic Committee to stage the Winter Games in his hometown again. When the Olympic Torch Relay came through the village three weeks before Salt Lake City Games, Shea carried the flame into the Olympic Speedskating Oval where he had won his gold medals, and he lighted the cauldron.