Mike Gallagher: In Memoriam

Oxygen Fed Sport has learned of Mike Gallagher’s passing, reported by Jim Galanes on Facebook and NENSA.

For decades, Mike Gallagher was a key figure in American skiing .  He competed in three winter Olympics: 1964 Innsbruck, 1968 Grenoble, and 1972 Sapporo.  His best individual finish was 12th in the 50 km in Grenoble, 1968.

He was one of the earliest Americans to travel to Scandinavia to see how they did it at the source, and he was one of the first, if not the first, to bring roller skis back to the U.S.

“From the early 1960s through the mid 1970s, Gallagher was clearly the leader.”  – John Morton, from Don’t Look Back

After his competitive career ended, Gallagher coached the U.S. National team from 1980 to 1986, and coached at three Olympic games.  Following that, he coached high school skiers in VT and taught at Mountain Top and Mountain Meadows.

One frigid day many years ago, in the cramped back room at Mountain Top‘s lodge, a newbie was waxing his skis for a race the next day.  Tall and lean, Mike Gallagher gruffly asked what the hell I thought I was doing.  When I told him, he said, “If I showed up, I’d kick all your asses.”  Then he showed me a better way to apply Start Green.  Although he needed to prepare for the Bill Koch kids that were about to show up, he took time to show me what to do.  He didn’t have to.

That was my only meeting with Mike Gallagher, but it’s in line with all that I’ve heard or read about him.  Relentlessly enthusiastic, outgoing, and ready to help anyone with skiing.  Thank you, Mike.  RIP.