Olympic medalist, Hall of Fame figure skating coach Ron Ludington dies at 85

Olympic medalist and Hall of Fame figure skating coach Ron Ludington died on Thursday, according to the Delaware News Journal.

He was 85.

Ludington, or “Luddy,” won a bronze medal while skating with his first wife, Nancy, at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. They are just one of six U.S. pairs teams to ever medal at the Olympics.

After winning four national championships and a bronze medal himself, Ron Ludington coached more than 30 Olympians in nine consecutive games. (Reuters)

Ludington started coaching the following year, and ended up coaching more than 30 skaters in nine consecutive Olympics before he retired in 2010. He also served as the director of the University of Delaware’s Ice Skating Science Development Center.

Among the notable athletes Ludington coached were the pairs team of Peter and Kitty Carruthers, who won the silver medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics, two-time Olympic ice dancer Scott Gregory and the 1992 pair steam of Calla Urbanski and Rocky Marval. He also helped train 2006 World Champion and Olympian Kimmie Meissner and three-time national champion and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir.

"He was at every one of my practices," Weir said, via the News Journal. "He basically oversaw all the young talent at UD. He would always tell me to work hard, and that if I did that, I'd make it. 

"I would work hard for my coach, just so she could tell him that. Luddy was such a stabilizing force for me."

Ludington once served as Weir’s “stand-in” coach at his first junior nationals in Slovakia when he was just 13, too. 

"He had a great demeanor about him," Weir said, via the News Journal. "He didn't yell or scream, but he definitely got his point across. He could be stern, and you would listen in a way that you'd listen to everything your grandparents would tell you because you'd want to please them, and because they experienced a lot and had so much knowledge."

Ludington, who won four consecutive national championships with Nancy and a bronze medal at the 1959 World Championships, was inducted into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1999. 

He continued to help coach and instruct figure skaters at Delaware and the Skating Club of Wilmington on the weekends right up until the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to shut down, too.

"He was so charismatic,” Weir said, via the News Journal. “He really revolutionized the way figure skating is done in the state. He leaves an amazing legacy. To make it to the pinnacle and stand on the podium as a skater, and then do it again as a coach, is amazing.

"Look at how many Olympians came out of Delaware, and it's all due to the base Luddy built in the state."

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