2014 Snow Sports Recognition Award Winner: Bill Marolt
An Olympian and sport leader, longtime USSA visionary Bill Marolt established a strong legacy in building successful athletic programs at every level and growing sports organizations as businesses to support athletics. Under his tenure, USSA athletic programs reached their highest pinnacles. During his leadership, both as alpine director and President and CEO, U.S. skiers and snowboarders have won 70 out of the 95 Olympic medals won since 1924.
As one of the greatest leaders in the USSA’s long history, Bill Marolt has left a lasting impact and is a deserving candidate for the SIA Snow Sports Recognition Award.
As President and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Bill Marolt served as the executive director of one of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most accomplished National Governing Bodies. A 1964 Olympian, Marolt has been a national champion athlete, a highly successful coach, a sport program director and an effective sport business leader at both the University of Colorado and the USSA.
An Aspen native, Marolt won three U.S. Championships and was a part of the history-making 1964 U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team. Following his retirement as an athlete in 1968, he returned to Colorado as head ski coach in 1969, winning seven NCAA skiing titles. In 1978 he took over alpine development for the U.S. Ski Team before serving as director of alpine skiing from 1979-84 with U.S. skiers winning a record five medals, including three gold in Sarajevo. In 1984, he took the helm of a struggling CU athletic program, growing both small sports and large, developing one of the strongest collegiate sports programs in America, including a national football title in 1990.
Marolt took leadership of the USSA in 1996, establishing a vision of becoming the Best in the World in Olympic skiing and snowboarding. He re-tooled the century-old organization to be athletically focused and supported by a diverse funding model including both private and corporate revenue sources. He established a national training and education center, the USSA Center of Excellence, in Park City, Utah to take advantage of 2002 Olympic Legacy venues. Under his direction, athletes in every sport have achieved record levels of success including the 2010 Olympic Team from which 17 different athletes won 21 medals. At Sochi in 2014, a record-matching 17 athletes won medals again including a record eight gold.
All the time, Marolt kept a focus, too, on the “whole person” development of athletes implementing career planning and mentoring, collegiate tuition support and even a high school academy.
For more than a decade, Marolt has played a vital role as Vice President of the International Ski Federation, helping guide the International Federation through a period of very pro-active, progressive change with the addition of six completely new events to the Olympic program. FIS events now account for 50 percent of the Olympic Winter Games. In 2012, he was elected by his peers to serve on the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors as a representative of National Governing Bodies.
“The Best in the World success U.S. skiers and snowboarders have achieved is a testament to our entire industry coming together as a team to provide the support our athletes needed to reach their goals,” said Marolt. “I’m proud to receive the SIA Snow Sports Recognition Award, but even prouder to have worked hand in hand with innovative suppliers who have played vital roles in our mutual success.”