Steamboat Springs, CO, Nov. 26 (AP)--Gordon Wren, the only American to qualify for four Olympic skiing events and an early official of the Steamboat Ski Area, died of cancer at his home Thursday. He was 80.
Wren was a member of the National Ski Hall of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He coached several skiing greats including Buddy Werner, Marvin Crawford and Jim ``Moose'' Barrows.
``Gordy was one of the toughest son of a guns you'll ever meet,'' Barrows said. ``But he had a heart that was so big and he was the epitome of an undiscriminating person.''
Barrows credited Wren with helping him qualify for the Olympics.
``He probably had more influence on our lives than anyone except for our parents,'' said Skeeter Werner Walker, another Wren-coached Olympian. ``He could be tough on you, but you gave your heart to him.''
Wren had qualified for the Olympics in 1940, but when the games were interrupted by World War II, he joined the Army and served in the 10th Mountain Division.
At the 1948 Winter Games at St. Moritz, Switzerland, Wren placed second in combined jumping and fifth in special jumping. Though he had qualified for the slalom and downhill as well, he removed himself from those events because he wanted to give a full effort to the nordic events.
Wren, remembered as the first American jumper to break the 300-foot mark, was hired to manage the Steamboat Ski Area in 1967.
He is survived by his wife Jean, a son, three daughters and eight grandchildren. Memorial services were pending.
Copyright © 1999 The Associated Press