Hall of Fame Class of 1968
George Kotlarek coached jumpers most of his adult life and he served as an officer of the Duluth Ski Club for many years. George is listed among the “Greats of American skiing”.
George Stanley Kotlarek, a member of the Duluth Ski Club, engaged in ski jumping competition for more than 30 years.
Kotlarek was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1912 and started his career as a ski jumping competitor on a local level. At 11 years of age he surpassed many of the senior club members.
In his long period of competition, George earned a progressive record unequaled by any other competitor on a national level as the winner of titles in the Class “D,” “C,” “A’ and Veterans’ events. He missed the honor of competing for the NSA Class “B” event due to winning the CUSSA Class ”B” Championship which elevated him into the Class “A” group.
George continually maintained a high rating as an amateur sportsman and was above reproach from the character standpoint. He served his local club well as an officer and director and also served as vice-president of the Duluth Ski Club.
Named to the 1944 All-America Modern Ski Squad, picked by the historian of the National Ski Association, George Kotlarek was described as “Duluth’s Skiing Ace.” He piled up a remarkable record to place in the first five great modern skiing races with three national titles, two divisional titles and 15 first places. To become listed among the “Greats in American Skiing” Kotlarek had won the National Class “A” Jumping Championship of 1936 at Red Wing, Minnesota, the Class “C” Championship in 1928 at Red Wing and the National Boys’ Title in 1927 at Denver, Colorado. Following World War II, Kotlarek captured three National Veterans’ Championships: 1948 at Seattle, Washington, 1950 at Duluth and 1954 at Ishpeming, Michigan. Always rated a great and courageous competitor, Kotlarek also coached ski jumpers and was the father of Gene Kotlarek, National Class “A” Champion of 1963 and Olympian of 1960 and 1964. His nomination was proposed in 1963 by the late Harold Grinden, NSA life-time historian and former head of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame.
George Stanley Kotlarek was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1968.
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