Gretchen K. Fraser (deceased)
Year Inducted: 1960
Born: February 11, 1919 Tacoma, WA
Died: February 17, 1994 Sun Vally, ID
Gretchen Kunik Fraser has the distinction of being the first American Olympic skiing champion and the first to medal at the Olympics in alpine skiing competition.
She started to ski at the age of sixteen and within two years was winning novice ski racing events. First inspired by Don Fraser, Class of 1972, whom she married in 1939 she used her natural talent and competitive nature to quickly excel at a high level in the sport. Eventually she moved to Sun Valley to be under the tutelage of Otto Lang. After a successful season in 1940 she was named to the U.S. Olympic Ski Team. War intervened to cancel the Games but she made the team again in 1948 despite a long layoff from competition.
At the Olympic Games in St. Moritz she won a silver medal in the downhill-slalom combined and two days later won the special slalom. She retired from ski competition after 1948 to assist Don with his succesful fuel distribution business in Vancouver, WA.
Always a competitor Gretchen Fraser distinguished herself as an aviator and equestrian. She was also the Womens Ski Team Manager at the 1952 Olympic Games and contributed to the advancement of many causes dealing with the environment and the promotion of disabled skiing.
She and her husband had one son, Donald W. Fraser. Don Fraser Sr. preceded her in death by 36 days.