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Charles T. Gibson

Hall of Fame Class of 2001

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Information submitted in a nomination letter to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame by Bruce A. Crane.

In his role as a ski sport builder, Charles T. Gibson always focused on what was best for the sport.

Charles T. Gibson was an athlete of admittedly modest accomplishment. He was at one time a dedicated collegiate coach and for two decades, an alpine official of note, contributing to the success of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid as Alpine Technical Director. Charlie’s very large contribution to the building of American ski sport was not made on the field of play but at national conventions, in board and committee meeting rooms and person-to-person as he worked determinedly to transform organized ski competition in the United States from its regionalized, politicized and ineffective structure pre-1980 to its emergence as one of the best sports governing bodies in the country in 2001.

The contributions of Charles T. Gibson contradict the oft-held opinion that a ski politician is a negative portrayal of someone’s involvement in our sport. In Charlie’s case, it was his successful role as a dedicated and skilled leader in the direction and decision-making of the United States Ski Association that merits his recognition as an American ski sport builder. First at the Eastern divisional level and then as vice-president and president of the USSA, he worked to stabilize finances, to improve organizational structure and to professionalize management, always with the focus of the athletes and competition program.

Charlie’s role as a ski sport builder was very much in the political arena, but also very positive, where his vision, focus, leadership, a lot of hard work and some arm-twisting instigated significant and needed changes in the structure of competitive skiing in the United States. He was not a highly visible figure and did not seek to draw attention to himself. Often his positions were unpopular with various factions and, in his own words, “did not endear myself to the divisions at the time.”

Gibson also made other important contributions, including innovations utilizing the tools of the electronics and computer engineers, both to improve the lot of race organizers and to bring more objectivity into athlete ranking and start orders. He provided the initial vision and was instrumental in establishing a national coaches’ association with education, training and accreditation as key features. He was instrumental in changing the U.S. Olympic Committee’s development funding philosophy and methodology to a merit system, further supporting athlete-based and performance-driven programs in skiing and other sports.

Beyond the key role as a sport build in reshaping the United States Ski Association, Charlie’s legacy includes pioneering of a fair, transparent and responsive ranking system in alpine, innovations in timing, scoring and results, founding an effective organization for the education of US ski coaches and revamping of the U.S. Olympic Committee formula for disbursement of development monies. Charlie’s arena was that of “ski politics,” always focusing on what was best for the sport.

Charles T. Gibson was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 2001.

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