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Two Champions

03/21/08 7:55AM By John Morton
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(HOST) Trail designer, sports writer and commentator John Morton says that - for skiers - the ongoing celebration of this winter's surprisingly abundant snowfall has been tempered by the loss of two beloved champions.

(MORTON) By now, many have heard that Paul Robbins died at his desk on February 23rd, doing what he did best, writing about skiing. For more than 30 years, Paul was America's most outspoken champion for skiing. He was introduced to the sport in the late 1970's when a Wisconsin entrepreneur recruited Paul to promote the World Cup, cross country events hosted at Telemark Lodge in Cable. Through hard work, a phenomenal ability to remember facts and his infectious sense of humor, Paul soon became the spokesperson for Nordic skiing in North America.
 
His comprehensive knowledge of skiing, and sincere affection for the athletes led to a twenty year affiliation as the primary writer for the U.S. Ski Team. Paul became a predictable fixture at every Winter Olympic Games since Lake Placid in 1980.
 
At the biathlon team's press conference at the Lillehammer Games, the first question to our athletes was, "What do you think of this whole Tanya and Nancy controversy?" Curtis Schreiner, one of our veteran competitors responded, "Who the heck are Tanya and Nancy?" Most of the reporters stared at Curtis in disbelief since the media had been obsessed with the figure skaters for weeks, but Paul Robbins roared with laughter. He alone, knew that Curtis was yanking everyone's chain.

Dr. David Bradley died on January 7th at the age of 92. Talk about being an eyewitness to history and living life to the fullest! He was an English major and captain of the ski team at Dartmouth, graduating summa cum laude in 1938, the same year he was also named Nordic combined, National Champion. Along with his younger brother Steve, and seven Dartmouth teammates, Dave earned a spot on the 1940 Winter Olympic Team, but was robbed of the opportunity to compete by World War II.

He studied English and history at Cambridge University before traveling to Finland where he reported for several newspapers on the Russo-Finnish Winter War. Returning to the states, he attended Harvard Medical School, earning his M.D. in 1944. He joined the Army and was assigned as a medical officer to the atomic tests being conducted on the remote, South Pacific Bikini Atoll. Based upon his observations there, in 1948 he published "No Place to Hide," the first authoritative, widely read, eyewitness account of the potential catastrophe of the atomic age.

For decades, he was a strong advocate for ski jumping, serving each winter as a jumping judge at competitions throughout the Northeast. Trudging up the stairs of the landing hill, if a glance at the judge's stand revealed Dave Bradley's weathered face, you knew, you'd better throw in a solid Telemark landing, or you were going to get docked plenty of style points.

Both Dave Bradley and Paul Robbins will be sorely missed by Nordic skiers across North America.
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