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Tamara McKinney

Hall of Fame Class of 1984

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Skiing at age 2, Tamara McKinney joined the U.S. Ski Team at age 15. In 1983, she won the first-ever overall World Cup Women’s title for the United States.

Tamara McKinney was born in Lexington, Kentucky on October 16, 1962. She is the youngest member of a family of seven children: all skiers, four of whom made the national ski team and all educated at home by their mother.

Tamara burst on the ski scene during the 1978 season. She was not taught to ski; she learned by doing. Her coach, Hermann Goellner, while watching McKinney make a practice run, shook his head and commented out loud, “She sure does love the snow! Her skis just play with it!”

McKinney started the 1979 season on December 1 and 2 by winning two F.I.S. slalom races in Les Diablertes, Switzerland. This increased the self-confidence of the U.S. Women’s Slalom Team.

In 1983, Tamara made history when she received the first-ever World Cup Women’s Overall Title – the same year that Phil Mahre won the men’s title. Tamara was also named Ski Racing’s 1983 Skier of the Year.

Tamara McKinney’s career highlights include:

• Won 18 World Cup races
• 1981 First in World Cup Giant Slalom Standings
• 1983 First in World Cup Giant Slalom Standings
• 1983 First in World Cup Overall Standings with seven victories
• 1984 First in World Cup Slalom Standings
• 1985 Second in World Cup Slalom Standings
• 1989 Won the combined gold and slalom bronze at the World Cup Championships in Vail, Colorado
• 1989 Third in the World Cup Standings

In 1989, Tamara fractured both bones in her lower left leg and damaged ligaments during a giant slalom training accident in Switzerland. Dr. Richard Steadman (U.S. Ski Team doctor and Honored Member of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame – Class of 1989) inserted a steel plate to repair her fractures and staples to repair the ligament damage.

Presently, Tamara works with the Rolex Junior Olympics and the Jimmie Heuga Express. She is the owner of her own coffee shop called Café O’Lake in Squaw Valley.

Tamara McKinney was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1984.

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