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Beattie Athlete Travel Fund Launches $3 Million Goal

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 11 2022

On the eve of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the impact of the U.S. Ski Team’s first coach is still being felt over a half-century later. U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, has launched the final phase of its Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund, which has already raised $17-million to support athletes since its launch in 2017, with a final phase target of $20-million.

The fund is named in honor of Coach Beattie, who led the U.S. Ski Team to its first men’s alpine medals in 1964 and was a tireless supporter of athletes up to his passing in 2018. The launch of the fund in his name five months earlier was one of his proudest moments. When fully endowed, it will fund nearly $1-million each year direct to athlete travel costs.

“I was fortunate in the early days of my career to have most of my athlete travel costs supported by the team. But I watched the impact that travel expenses had on my young teammates who were struggling to make it to the top. The Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund has created a much more positive environment on the team thanks to the generous support of donors.”
        — Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety. 

While it was established relatively recently, the roots of the Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund go back decades. Named in honor of the late Bob Beattie (1933 – 2018), he was an icon of the sport of alpine ski racing, one of its most passionate pioneers, and an outspoken advocate for athlete travel funding throughout his life. The fund was created to specifically close the gap on funding of athlete travel costs to training camps, and domestic and international competitions. While in the past most of those expenses were covered by the team, in recent years a gap in funding created scenarios where athletes were paying $25,000 or more just to travel with the team.

“Increasing funding and decreasing costs for our athletes is a top priority for U.S. Ski & Snowboard,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief Development Officer Trisha Worthington. “The support provided by the Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund helps our athletes focus exclusively on their training, performance, and competitions, without worrying about how they’re going to pay their way. We’re proud of this fund and the progress it represents.” 

The Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund is unique in the sports world - no other national governing body has an endowment that provides financial support specifically for its athletes’ travel needs. 

A New Hampshire native, Beattie stumbled into the national team role in the early 1960s but went on to become its first full-time coach. He was an ardent promoter of ski sport, leading Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga to silver and bronze in the slalom on the last day of the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck. He was one of the originators of the Alpine World Cup tour, which began in 1967. Beattie went on to pioneer NASTAR, start World Pro Skiing and become a legendary broadcaster with ABC and ESPN. He remained an active trustee with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation for a half-century and was well known for his impassioned speeches at board members imploring more support for athletes.

The fund supports athletes across alpine, cross country, freeski, freestyle, and snowboard. The foundation hopes to reach its $20-million target during this Olympic season. The goal of the fund is to eliminate the athlete travel funding issue permanently. As a non-profit organization, U.S. Ski & Snowboard has limited annual resources to allocate across multiple sports. Endowments like the Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund are a great way to augment athlete support while maintaining core operational funding. 

Interested supporters can check out more information on the Bob Beattie Athlete Travel Fund here.