Robert Oden, M.D. - Athlete - 2002

Dr. Robert Oden was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1922. He graduated from Northwestern Medical School in 1947. In 1957, he moved to Aspen, Colorado where he established the first orthopedic practice and in following years took the lead in establishing two new and modern hospitals in the community.  He not only was one of the first doctors to administer to the needs of those who skied and raced in Aspen, he also took an active part in the ski club and the races. Many skiers who either lived in Aspen or who came to compete depended on his medical expertise and care. Dr. Oden was also helpful in the formation of the medical clinic in Vail, Colorado, providing service during the early years and continuing to be a major force in fund raising for the facility.  At his own expense, he initiated the “U.S. Ski Team Doctors Pool” in 1968 by recruiting and training doctors to travel with the ski teams and provide medical assistance. The U.S. Ski Team Doctors Pool assured that our athletes had availability to American doctors in all the events held in Europe or out of the U.S. His work inspired international skiers and athletes of other sports to seek out orthopedic doctors for advice and treatment.  He worked with Tage Pederson, the first ski team trainer, to create and set the highest standards for quality Sports Medicine in the skiing community. His influence and know-how eventually impacted all Olympic Sports.  Dr. Robert Oden’s contributions to the ski world are many. He was appointed as an orthopedic surgeon to the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1960, 1972, 1976 and 1980.  He served on the U.S. Ski Education Foundation for many years. Dr. Oden was a U.S. Olympic Committee Delegate from 1974 through 1982. During his long tenure as a F.I.S. Medical Committee member, he promoted many aspects of safety for race courses at the F.I.S. and USSA levels. He served on the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Sports Medicine Committee and was on the organizing committee for the Ski Team Training Center in Park City, Utah.  Dr. Robert Oden has been the chairman of the Medical Committee for the Aspen Winter Nationals, and was one of the founders of the Aspen Skiers Educational Foundation. The Foundation provides funding for the Aspen Ski Club. He has devoted many hours to the welfare of the U.S. Ski Team and to generations of young skiers. In 1985, he received the Julius Blegen Award, the highest honor of the USSA and also was awarded the Halstead Trophy by the Rocky Mountain Division in 1986.   (Deceased)