John D. Steele - Sport Builder - 1983


Hall
John Steele is credited with being the first Olympic skier from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1909, and moved to Steamboat in 1918. He began skiing that first winter, with long, heavy pine skis and high-top leather boots that laced to his knees. John practiced long, hard hours to realize his dream of jumping on Howelsen Hill.  In February of 1924, he won his first Silver Cup at Hot Sulphur Springs in ski jumping. In March of the same year, he broke the world's record for boy amateurs 14 and under when he jumped 123 feet at Dillon, Colorado. This placed him in the category of World Champion.  John attended Denver University, where he helped to organize the Pioneer Ski Club, and he served as its first president. With the cooperation of the other Colorado colleges and the Denver Winter Sports Club, the first intercollegiate Tournament was at Genesee Mountain. When the Eastern colleges picked up this idea, the National Collegiate Athletic Association for Skiing formed.  In 1930, John became the Class B Jumping Champion of America. He had been steadily working towards his dream of becoming an Olympic skier, and in 1932 was chosen to be a member of the 1932 Winter Olympic Ski Team. He was disappointed when he placed 15th out of 36 jumpers in the Olympics, but believed that some day a boy or a girl would come out of Steamboat Springs to win for the United States. John counts 27 silver cups and trophies and 20 medals among his awards. He was an active competitor for 22 years, and now lives in Loveland, Colorado.  (Deceased)