April 25, 2004 by

Art Devlin


Categories: Media, Sports

adevlin.jpgArt Devlin Sr., a former U.S. Olympic ski jumper and sports broadcaster, died on April 22 of brain cancer. He was 81.
Raised in Lake Placid, N.Y., Devlin qualified for the U.S. Olympic ski teams from 1940 to 1960. He took a break from competition during World War II to serve in the military, flying 50 combat missions over Europe as a B-24 bombardier. For his efforts and bravery, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.
Devlin returned to the states after the war, attended Syracuse University and hit the slopes. He set the North American distance record of 307 feet and the ski flying record on the 120 meter hill at Oberstdorf, Germany. Devlin competed in two Winter Games, finishing 15th in the 90-meter jump in the 1952 Oslo Games, and 21st at the 1956 Olympics in Cortina, Italy. He was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1963.
Devlin used his athletic background to land a TV sports commentator position at CBS in 1960. He joined ABC two years later, and spent more than two decades on the air as the “voice of ski jumping.” The long-time owner of the Art Devlin’s Olympic Motor Inn in Lake Placid, he also served as the vice president of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1980 Winter Games.

18 Responses to Art Devlin

  1. Deborah Kohn

    I believe that Art skiied at Briar Hill Ski Jumps in Mesick, Michigan at one time. It probably would have been in the 1950’s. My father worked during that time as a volunteer on the hill to keep it in shape for the skiiers when they were jumping.
    I have some memories of my father talking about the great skiiers who came to our small ski jump. He really enjoyed his time working on the big day of the jumps.
    Deborah Kohn

  2. warren bishop

    He had a unique voice in which i am going to miss on olympic coverage. God gave him a zest for life which again is unique, his voice just stood out. I did not know him personally, but you knew he was somthing very special. May God bless his family. Plus he is looking down on his family and friends and rooting for them, may God bless Art Devlin, and his family. He was one of those special sports commentaters you want see any more. I mean one of the best.

  3. Max Pelt

    As a former Ski Jumper on the Canadian Ski Team,
    I had many occassions to enjoy a few beer’s with
    Art in the 1960’s and appreciated his advise
    on how to improve my ski jumping from time to time.
    What can you say, he was a great guy and will be
    missed. I was in lake Placid For New Years
    last Jan and had meant to drop in and say hello,
    But things kept getting into the way and now I
    will always think of the missed opportunity to
    have said hello to Art one last time.
    Who knows Art, We may meet again on the big
    ski jump in the sky.
    Art you were one of the greatest persons I ever
    had the pleasure to be involved with.
    Max Pelt

  4. Evelyn

    I remember so well and enjoyed his commentary, when the Japanese ski jumper Yukio Kasaya (sp) did so incredibly well. His enthusiasm was contagious and his love of the sport was so apparent.

  5. Harold Jewell

    I can’t say that I knew Art, but I did meet him when I stayed at his motel back about 1970 or ’71. He showed me his trophy case, then I happened to see him later that evening enjoying a drink or two at what was then the Marcy Hotel bar. Every now and then I think of him and was saddened just today to learn that he had died.
    Harold Jewell
    Rochester, NY
    August 10, 2004

  6. Carolyn Henneforth

    I just found out – and it is August 2004! I am 62 now. I was 17 when I was his au pair for Jackie and Artie. I fixed lunch for Art everyday, 2 hot dogs wrapped in American white bread. But the best part was listening to him about his experiences in winter sports. I was a skater and loved every minute of it. At the same time he gave me advice about my just launched dating life! The next year I was his night clerk at the motel – “shocked” and reporting to Art that I didn’t think that the people who checked in last night were married! The next winter I saw him in Innsbruck when he started his broadcasting career and he embarressed me in the Sporthotel bar by introducing me as his babysitter! Memories like this stay with one forever. God speed, Art! Carolyn Jones Henneforth

  7. joy hicks

    I remember the late 1940 something that Art Delvin jumped in Valcartier Quebec and what a great skier can you help me as to year etc. Much appreciated I learned to ski on this small hill and is now a private school with a great reputation thanks Joy

  8. Art Devlin

    I shared his name. I was a cop for 7 years in S. Florida, from 1971-1977. I can remember so many times, people asking, “are you related to Art Devlin the ski jumper?” Of course I wasn’t, but it made me acutely aware of Art’s accomplishments. All I can say it gives me warm memories.

  9. Randy Jones

    I’m sorry to say that I never met Art Devlin, Sr. I wasn’t even a gleam in my fathers’ eye during Mr. Devlins Olympic career or prime of his life. However, as a winter sports enthusiast from Virginia I’ve met Art, Jr. a few times while staying at the Olympic Motor Inn in Lake Placid. He is a warm, engaging individual with obvious pride of his fathers life. The trophy case in the lobby is but a small tribute to his fathers accomplishments as a sportman. I have a good feeling that Art Devlin, Sr. as a father and as a friend to many is just as interesting a story to tell.

  10. Leslie Braun

    I would love to be contacted by any member of Art’s family; I never met him, but Art was my half uncle; he was the brother of my Father’s half sister, Mary Devlin Braun. My Father was Robert Bernard Braun, born Hicksville, NY 7-19-18.

  11. John

    I would like to congratulate on Arts accompleshments. And Im sure my grandfather does also. My grandfather and Art were real good friends and knew each other very well.

  12. Marjorie Laflin

    Art Devlin worked for my father in the 1950’s to supplement his income. They were great friends and I have many wonderful memories of that time. One of the greatest treasures of my young life was a postcard Art sent to me from the Squaw Valley Olympics. I am sorry to hear of his death, even at this late date.

  13. Greg Hehn

    I’m not sure, but I think my step-father, Lesile J. Westberg, said Art was his tail gunner on a B-24 in North Africa. More and more of the WWII heros have died.

  14. George Matthews

    I knew Art most all of my life. He taught me to waterski at the old Lake Placid Club. He took me for my first hunting experience in the Mountains around Lake Placid. I knew the kids mother, Helen, and I have known the kids since they were born. I took Art and some of his friends hunting in Florida as this was one of his favorite pastimes. I was at his funeral with many of his friends.
    I consider it a priviledge to have know him. He was one of my very best friends and I miss him.

  15. Ian McIntyre

    I never new Art, but he is my uncle. From the few stories I have heard he sounds like a great man. I wish I could have had the chance to meet him. I believe he has had a great life, and is happy up in heaven. Rest in peace Art.

  16. Linda Johnson

    I was a very close friend of Art Devlin’s. We shared a multitude of trips, including skiing trips to Lake Tahoe, Aspen, and the Winter Olympics in Alberville,France plus trips to Florida and Lake Placid. He was always a gentelman, and the life of the party wherever he went. His sense of humor and his limericks were a constant source of entertainment for his close friends. He was adored by his many friends and family and my life is much richer for having known him and having shared so many good times and incredible life stories with Art. He was a true Patriot, proudly defending his country in World War II. After being shot down in his B-24 bomber over Lake Starnburg, Germany, he walked through the combat zones to safety, mostly at night, to Italy, led by a teenager, who would be paid a small amount for bringing one of our pilots home safely. He was even a movie star for a short time, and the best Sports Commentator ever but most of all he was a fiercely loyal friend to all who loved him.

  17. Jeffrey Madden

    I remember the whole Devlin family very well. I grew up with Helen,Artie,Jackie,Alexis,”Lassie” and “Buster”. Artie ate a peanut butter (Peter Pan brand)and Grape jelly (Welshes)sandwich ever single day in elementary school. But, this is about his father isn’t it. Art Devlin was the real thing! I was so proud of knowing the man. I thank Art Devlin for being: a war hero,who served his nation with bravery and honor; an athlete who put ski jumping on the lips of people all over this national; a businessman, who built a successful motel that still caters to guest from all over the world; but, most of all I thank him for treating a skinny kid like a son.

  18. Paul & Shirley Windrath

    Being 9 yrs younger than Art I was in awe of him as a ski jumper. On the occasion of our marriage in Dec 1951, Shirley and I were honeymooning at the Lake Placid Club. I had brought my skiis along and went to Intervales to practice. Shirley was at the observation station and Art was standing next to her. As I went by in the air she remarked “that is my husband and we are on our honeymoon”. Art quipped “I would be jumping in bed … not out here!” We have had fun telling that story many times. When I think of ski jumping, I visualize Art in his classic form!

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