Paul Robbins (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2009
For three decades, Paul Robbins was an institution in the ski world. He was a journalist, U.S. Ski Team press officer, walking encyclopedia of ski knowledge, mentor, cheerleader, and comic relief, all under one Scottish tam-o-shanter, worn so that everyone, from athletes to coaches to fellow journalists, could find him in the crowd.
During eight Winter Olympics and countless World Cup and world and national championships, in every ski discipline, "the man in the tam" was a pressroom fixture, writing ski team press releases and cajoling editors at small town newspapers, from Anchorage to Stowe, into running his stories about their hometown heroes. "You see his byline everywhere," four-time national ski jumping champion and 1984 Olympian Jeff Hastings said after the 2002 Olympics.
Paul's encyclopedic knowledge of the ski world helped young writers and seasoned pros alike. He could tell you which Americans raced the 4 X 10 km relay at the 1992 Olympics and in what order, and he knew who finished third in K90 ski jumping at the 1988 Calgary Games without looking it up. "He knows my stats since I was 12," Lindsey Vonn told Chicago Tribune sportswriter Philip Hersh. "He knows my whole history."
And he shared this knowledge with anyone who asked. "Paul was always there to fill us in, with none of the disdain some people in niche sports have for people who write about their sport infrequently, " notes Hersh. "Just the opposite was true of Paul, he wanted to do anything he could to allow the public at large to appreciate the sport and its athletes."
Above all, Paul loved the athletes. "When you got a call from Paul Robbins, you knew that you skied well that day, " says U.S. Ski Team member Bryon Friedman. "More importantly, Paul would also call when the phone stopped ringing. He was interested in our struggles as well as our triumphs."
"I'd always make time to talk to Paul, because he was always such a delight," wrote 2006 Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso in a tribute to Paul.
Paul was "a wonderful part of the Ski World Cup family, " says Patrick Lang, vice-president of the International Association of Ski Journalists. "He had a huge love for the sport and its champions, he tirelessly promoted it around the country, and he helped his colleagues from USA and other parts of the world. (The World Cup) will never be the same anymore."