Behind The Gold: GS Skier Debbie Armstrong

Dec 16, 2013

She was the pride of Washington State, with her gold medal photo emblazoned on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Hi, this is Tom Kelly, and I’ll be right back with the Olympic story Behind The Gold.

Seattle’s Deb Armstrong, just 20, was the rookie amongst a team of veterans at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, skiing in the shadow of triple World Championships medalist Christin Cooper and reigning World Cup Champion Tamara McKinney. Armstrong’s best was a third in a World Cup just a few weeks earlier. All eyes were focused on McKinney and Cooper. Armstrong was there to have fun.

In the first run, Cooper flashed to a lead with Armstrong second. McKinney – victimized by a first run error – was well back in 11th. A hip check on the top of the course took its toll on Cooper, dropping her to silver. McKinney, meanwhile, led the second run to move all the way up to fourth.

That left the door open to Debbie Armstrong, the pride of Seattle’s Garfield High, to become an Olympic champion!

It was almost a surreal site on the medals stand that evening – two Americans standing one-two. Two American flags being raised side-by-side.

Deb Armstrong was a part of history that day in Sarajevo. Today, she remains close to her sport as Alpine Director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, ever anxious to share her own experiences as an Olympian to help the next generation.

This is Tom Kelly with Behind The Gold. Only in Park City. Only on KPCW.

Behind the Gold is sponsored by Rosenberg Cooley Metcalf and the Utah Olympic Park 'Road to Sochi' events.