Billy Kidd honored in New York

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— For more than 20 years, former Olympic skier Billy Kidd has stood by and supported his teammate and longtime friend Jimmie Heuga as Heuga confronted the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis.

On Monday, at the 18th annual Heuga Center Autumn Benefit Dinner in New York, Kidd was honored with the "Can Do" award, the center's highest recognition.

"This is an award that is not that well-known, but some award acknowledgments are more meaningful because they are personal," Kidd said. "Jimmie and I have been teammates and friends for as long as I can remember, so receiving this honor is very meaningful for me."

The occasion kicked off the 20th anniversary celebration of the Heuga Center and the 40th anniversary of Kidd's and Heuga's Olympic medals.

Kidd won the silver in the slalom at the 1964 Winter Olympic Games and Heuga took the bronze. Kidd said Pepi Stiegler, an Austrian who took the gold that year in Innsbruck, Austria, also was expected at Monday's ceremony, along with many other former Olympic skiers and longtime supporters of the Jimmie Heuga Center. The center is in Edwards near Vail.

Past winners of the award include skier Jean-Claude Killy, Sports Illustrated president Bruce Hallett president and NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw.

"It's always a prestigious award to win," Kidd said. "But since this is the 20th anniversary of the center, it's a special year."

Kidd was looking forward to being reunited with many of the skiers he competed with and against during the 1960s.

"I've heard that a lot of top skiers are going to be there," Kidd said before leaving for the event. "It will be nice to see some old friends and catch up with them."

Kidd said he is flattered to receive the award but even more in awe of how Heuga has been able to live with multiple sclerosis and serve as an example to others.

"Jimmie prefers to focus on the things he can still do instead of the things that he can't do anymore," Kidd said.

Kidd, who grew up in Vermont, has called Steamboat home since 1970. He is the director of skiing for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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