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Olympic Speed Skating Champion Terry McDermott Dies at 82


Olympic gold medalist speedskater Terry McDermott passed away at the age of 82 on May 20, 2023. The heartbreaking news was confirmed by U.S. Speedskating.

“The USS family is saddened by the news that one of our all-time greats, Terry McDermott, passed away early Saturday surrounded by his family,” according to the national governing body.

“Terry had a massive impact on our sport. Our thoughts are with those that Terry inspired over his many decades in our sport.”

Olympic Speed Skating Champion Terry McDermott Dies at 82.

Richard Terrance McDermott was born on September 20, 1940, in Essexville, Michigan, U.S. He was an American gold and silver medal-winning Olympic speed skater.

At the 1964 Winter Olympics. he was a surprise winner in the 500 m in Innsbruck when he beat the favorite in that distance, reigning champion Yevgeny Grishin, by half a second.

“The Cold War was going on and it carried over into the Olympics. The Russians came along in ’56 and dominated every sport. It was awful hard to beat them in anything. So, going against them, you tried a little harder,” he said in a 2010 interview with MLive Media Group.

McDermott’s coach at the time was Leo Freisinger, the 500 m bronze medal winner of the 1936 Winter Olympics.

His international career consisted exclusively of the 500 m at the Olympic Winter Games of 1960, 1964, and 1968. Terry skated in unfavorable conditions in 1968, late in the day when the sun melted the ice. Yet Terry finished only 0.2 seconds behind the winner.

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Terry McDermott Passed Away at 82

Terry McDermott passed away at the age of 82 but his cause of death has not been released yet. United States Speed Skating has paid touching tribute to the Olympic gold medallist.

On June 4, 1977, McDermott was inducted into the National Speedskating Hall of Fame. At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Terry took the Olympic Oath representing the judges.

He worked as a barber from 1963 to 1967, and after that as a manufacturer’s representative in the Detroit area. In parallel McDermott served as a speed skating official.

Olympic Speed Skating Champion Terry McDermott Dies at 82.

On February 9, 1964, McDermott was a guest on The Ed Sullivan Show, an appearance that was overshadowed by the first United States performance of The Beatles.

The skater resided in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He was married to Virginia and has five children and an elder sister Marilyn.

U.S. Speedskating described Terry as “one of our all-time greats” who inspired many others to follow his path.

“I always had great admiration for Terry,” Ryan Shimabukuro said in an interview. “His legacy both on and off the ice will continue for U.S. speedskating and our sport.”

Mike Plant, a former Olympic speedskater, also remembered McDermott. “We all knew who he was. We knew his success on the ice, but we also knew he was just one of those guys, and it was a small group of them, who constantly gave back weekend after weekend. They were always there.

“A guy of incredible character,” Plant said. “He always helped. He was always concerned with you getting better on and off the ice,” Plant said.

Another heartbreaking news! Jacklyn Zeman’s cause of death was disclosed by her family after her death on May 10, 2023. The ‘General Hospital’ star passed away at the age of 70.

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