October 5th, 2013
Three-time Olympian and U.S. Ski Team head coach from 1980-1986, Mike Gallagher died at his home in Pittsfield, Vt., on Thursday, Oct. 3, the date of his 72nd birthday.
“Mike Gallagher was an inspiration to generations of cross country skiers as an athlete, coach and sport leader,” USSA Nordic posted on Facebook. “Sad to hear of his passing on his 72nd birthday this week.”
A nine-time national champion, Gallagher coached the USST through a pivotal period in the 1980s, when skating was introduced and adopted as a racing technique.
“He brought some interesting openness to different ways of doing things,” said Peter Ashley, nordic vice president of Fischer USA, in an interview two years ago.
In November 2011, FasterSkier visited Gallagher in Pittsfield a few months after the town was nearly wiped out by Tropical Storm Irene. Living high atop a hill, Gallagher and his wife Tyna’s cabin was relatively unscathed — except for the 63 dump-truck loads of fill needed to repair the driveway.
But it didn’t phase Gallagher much, who was still very active at the time, teaching skiing in the winter and beekeeping, gardening and enjoying other outdoor hobbies in the summer.