James Edmound Shea, Jr. (born June 10, 1968) is a retired American skeleton racer who won the Gold medal in dramatic fashion at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Shea also was chosen by fellow athletes to recite the Athlete's Oath during the Opening Ceremonies and along with his father, Jim Shea Sr., passed the Olympic Torch to the 1980 U.S. Mens' Hockey Team who ignited the Olympic Cauldron. Shortly before the Olympics he was a guest of Laura Bush in the First Lady's Box at the 2002 State of the Union Address.
Shea was the third generation of his family to take part in Winter Games. His father competed in nordic combined and cross-country skiing events in the 1964 Winter Olympics, and his grandfather, Jack Shea, won two gold medals in the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid in speed skating. His grandfather also recited the athlete's oath at the 1932 opening ceremony. Although American media repeatedly claimed that he was the first third generation Olympian, this honor in fact belongs to the Norwegian Lunde family, who placed their third generation in the Olympics in 1960.
He was born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, and moved to Lake Placid, New York, in his late teens. He became the first American to win a World Cup race and a World Championship in the sport, and has won more World Cup victories than any other American. He retired in October 2005.
At the FIBT World Championships, Shea earned a complete set of medals in the men's skeleton event with a gold in 1999, a silver in 1997, and a bronze in 2000 (tied for bronze with Austria's Alexander Müller). His best overall seasonal finish in the men's Skeleton World Cup was third twice (1998-9, 2000-1). Shea's efforts and World Championship status assisted in the reintroduction of skeleton as a medal sport.
Shea has since founded The Shea Family foundation which raises money to help kids in sports. He resides in Park City, Utah, where he is a Board Member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters and a board member of "Mountain Trails", the largest mountain biking trail system in the country. He currently serves on the Utah Board of Economic Development. Jimmy is married to an emergency medicine doctor, Dr. Kellee Reed Shea of Orlando, Florida. They have one daughter, Taylor.
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