Celebrating 1964 in Innsbruck
Monday, Jimmie Heuga skied down the mountain at Steamboat Springs in a sit-ski with his best friend, Billy Kidd, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Olympic medals won in Innsbruck, Austria in 1964.
In the slalom event, Heuga took the bronze and Kidd the silver on February 8, 1964, winning the first American men’s Olympic ski medals.
Their teammate, Buddy Werner, was the anticipated medal winner but finished ninth in the event.
To commemorate the anniversary, and in honor of Werner, the two Olympians and a company of friends and well-wishers skied down Buddy’s Run in Steamboat Springs.
After their 1964 medals, Heuga and Kidd continued successful careers in ski racing, Kidd racing in another Olympics and then joining the professional circuit.
Heuga also raced in the 1968 Olympics, and then was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1970, at the height of his racing career.
Ever the optimist, Heuga took his diagnosis and turned it into a positive force in his life.
Following doctor’s orders, Heuga abstained from any physical exercise for six years, so as not to exacerbate the disease.
But he saw his emotional and physical well-being slowly decline and he rebelled.
Defying conventional medical wisdom of the day, Heuga began an exercise program and rebuilt his physical and emotional strength. His success revolutionized the way in which MS is managed today.
In 1984, Heuga founded the non-profit Heuga Center, to teach others his strategies for managing MS.
Today, the center not only focuses on the person with MS but the family as well and through its CAN DO Programs, has assisted more than 6,500 people and families living with the disease.
Now celebrating its 20th birthday, The Heuga Center is recognized as a leader in MS management and is the only resource of its kind in the world.
It is primarily funded through the Jimmie Heuga Snow Express for MS, the largest on-snow fund raiser in the country. Held at 15 resorts in the US and Canada, the Snow Express for MS raises nearly $1 million annually to support the Center’s CAN DO, CAN DO2, and Jumpstart Programs.
These programs are conducted throughout the country by a team of more than 100 healthcare specialists in the field of MS.
Proceeds from the Snow Express help pay for the cost of conducting the programs and provide scholarships for those who would not otherwise be able to attend.
This year, the Snow Express will be held at three Colorado locations, Copper Mountain, Feb. 28, Steamboat Springs, March 14, and the Vail International Finals, March 31-April 4.
For more information about the Snow Express for MS and The Heuga Center’s Programs, call 1-888-DO-IT-4-MS, or visit http://www.heuga.org.