Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Paul Robbins was a much beloved institution in the ski world for over three decades. A journalist and U.S. Ski Team Press officer, he was also a walking encyclopedia of skiing knowledge, mentor, cheerleader and frequent source of comic relief. At international skiing events all of this could be found under one colorful Scottish tam-o-shanter worn so that everyone could find Paul in a crowd. Over eight Olympics and countless World Cup and World Championship events in very ski discipline, “the man in the tam” was a pressroom fixture writing ski team releases and cajoling editors of small-town newspapers from Anchorage to Stowe into running his stories about their hometown heroes.
Possessing an encyclopedic knowledge about skiing, Paul shared this with young writers and seasoned pros alike. He knew which Americans had raced in the 4 X 10 km relay at the 1992 Olympics and in what order. He knew, without looking it up, who had finished third in the K90 ski jumping in Calgary in 1988.
This knowledge would be shared with anyone who asked. He would do anything to spread this knowledge to the public at large so that it could appreciate our sport and its athletes.
Most importantly, Paul loved and appreciated the athletes. A call from Paul was a signal for a ski team member that he or she had done well that day. More importantly, he also called when they had not done well knowing that the struggles were just as important as the triumphs.
Julia Mancuso, Olympic gold and silver medalist once noted, “I’d always make time to talk to Paul because he was always such a delight.”
He seemed indefatigable, working from his home office researching stories, pursuing contacts and filling everyone’s email boxes with funny and colorful material. And that is where he was found in late February 2008 passing suddenly and too soon from our lives.
Patrick Lang, vice president of the International Association of Ski Journalists said, “Paul was a wonderful part of the Ski World Cup family. He had a huge love for the sport and its champions. He tirelessly promoted it around the country and he helped colleagues from the USA and other parts of the world. (The World Cup) will never be the same…”
(With thanks to Peggy Shinn of Rutland, VT)
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Hall of Fame Tribute Video
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