2002: Shea races to emotional gold medal win in skeleton

Utah Olympic ParkExcerpt from a cnnsi.com story from February 20, 2002:

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Jimmy Shea is convinced that Gramps had something to do with this.  There’s no doubt in his mind.

He was trailing by the slimmest of margins, the skeleton gold medal slipping away. Then, in the final yards — somehow, some way — he made up the time and zoomed to victory.

“I think my grandfather had some unfinished business down here,” Shea said. “Now he can go up to heaven.”

With his grandfather’s funeral card tucked inside his helmet, Shea did indeed win the gold Wednesday, finishing the two runs at Utah Olympic Park in 1 minute, 41.96 seconds.

Thus culminated an emotional two months for Shea, the youngest member of America’s first three-generation family of Winter Olympians.

His 91-year-old grandfather, Jack, who died last month, was the first double gold medalist in the Winter Olympics, winning two speed skating events at the 1932 Lake Placid Games. He was also America’s oldest living Winter Olympian.

Shea’s father, Jim Sr., was also an Olympian and competed in three cross-country events at the 1964 Innsbruck Games.

He watched with tears in his eyes as his son beat defending world champion Martin Rettl of Austria, who won the silver in 1:42.01. World Cup champion Gregor Staehli of Switzerland, the 1994 world champion who came out of retirement to compete, won the bronze in 1:42.15.

Click HERE to read the entire story.

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