Ron Ludington, Olympic Figure Skater and Hall of Fame Coach, Dies at 85

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2020

Three pairs of figure skaters who won medals in Winter Olympic competition stand on the victory platform at Squaw Valley, Calif., Feb. 19, 1969. Left to right: Marika Kilius and Hans Baumler, Germany, silver medal; Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul of Canada, gold medal; Nancy and Ronald Ludington, U.S.A., bronze medal. (AP Photo/Dick Strobel)
Dick Strobel/Associated Press

Olympic bronze medalist Ron Ludington died Thursday at the age of 85.

Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal reported the news Saturday. The cause of death wasn't immediately announced.

Ludington won the bronze medal in pairs skating alongside his then-wife Nancy Ludington at the 1960 Winter Games in California. The couple won four straight United States championships from 1957 through 1960 before their Olympic triumph.

The Boston native, who was known by the nickname "Luddy," went on to coach several Olympians after transitioning into a coaching role. Scott Gregory, an Olympian in 1984 and 1988, was among them.

"Luddy was such a powerful and great man, and everyone looked up to him with such respect," Gregory told Frank. "He was such a great skater and coach that you were almost scared to have a lesson with him because you wanted to do so well for him."

Even after his retirement, he continued to provide guidance for young skaters at the Skating Club of Wilmington in Delaware on the weekends, per Frank.

"I don't know if it was his teaching style as much as his demeanor, but everyone wanted to be coached by Luddy," Peter Bilous, the club's general manager, said. "He just had an attitude on the ice of being a happy-go-lucky guy who always drew the best out of you."

Ludington was inducted in the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1999. He's also a member of the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame and the Professional Skaters Association Hall of Fame as a coach.

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