Leroy Martinson
Bloomington Area School
Year Inducted 2008
I started skiing in junior high school in Richfield, MN. It’s pretty flat there! I didn’t progress much until I started ski jumping when our family moved to Bloomington, MN, just north of Hyland Hills ski area. I joined the Mpls Ski Club and quickly improved in 9th and 10th grade. So much that Ken Martin, the jumping chairman, took me to the Jr Nat’ls in Reno, NV in 1957 and Winter Park, CO. in 1958. In the 1958 State High School Ski Meet, I placed third in X-Country and third in Jumping beating all the twin city boys and most of the northern skiers except Rod Olson from Duluth. I started X-Country with Norm Oakvik in Mpls. as a junior in H.S. Rod Olson took second place in both events also. Both of these events were won by foreign exchange students. Karl Bohlin went with us to Reno and won that X-Country race. Later, in ’59, he and I went out to Western State College to ski and train with Sven Wick’s ski team. Next, we drove to Squaw Valley, CA where many of my friends showed up to train and work the’59 Pre Olympics. Karl made the ’60 team. He and a Russian traded places a few times, but Karl was injured in a fall on a down hill run during the race. When I came back in ‘59, I beat all the guys at a X-Country race in Ishpeming, MI.

            After coming back to Mpls, I put skiing on hold, tried to get into the air force but was not accepted because of scarred ear drums. I came back,  started college at Augsburg in Mpls,  got married and started to work on a teaching degree in Mathematics and Phy Ed. I helped coach the X-Country camps at Houghton Tech in the U.P. with Oakvik and Mike Marciniak. I graduated in ’65, signed with Bloomington Schools, bought a home in Richfield and started coaching all three events in the fall of ’65. I didn’t do much skiing during those teaching/coaching years. When jumper/lawyer Dick Swanson was leaving the cities for the north woods and I did not want the Mpls Ski Club on my mind, he and I rewrote the bylaws to involve more people, committees, etc. I began putting more time into the divisional X-Country committee and attending more meetings with them and the Jump Committee. I was able to start the Nordic Combined Committee for Central and was elected to the Board of Directors for a couple of terms. When the Central Division was disbanded, most communication stopped and the divisions floundered for lack of direction. Meanwhile, I was teaching, coaching and doing a little work with the Mpls S.C. If it weren’t for Norm Oakvik, Mpls, and Dag Helgstad, St Paul, there wouldn’t be the growth of X-Country in the Twin Cities or the state that we experienced, because they imported skis, boots, poles, bindings, wax and etc. I put in many hours skiing, running competitions, and clearing out the weeds on the “flower Gardens “ course. With that experience, I proceeded to plan, cut and clear a course behind the ski jump in Bloomington. I was also the lead contact for the club and Henn County Parks to build our 28m ski jump that we used for our one night per week for all the schools. In 1973, Lars Kindem and others used this portion and connected it with other trails south of the jump for the ’73 National Nordic Combined Champs.

In 1979-80 I was at the Pre Olympics and Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. I worked as an official in the shi jumping event in the judges stand in calculations. What a  great experience that was! In 1980 I passed my judge’s test and became a Central, then a National judge with both junior and senior assignments and later became a Technical Delegate. Our ski jump was taken down by the Park District and Jack Broz and others were able to get a new 70m ski jump built. In 2000 I was the tournament chairman for our first annual competition.  It was a huge success!

            During the recent  3-event times, Bloomington Lincoln was the only southern school in 1972 to beat Cloquet, other than Mpls North in 1960. We had four State Slalom Squad Champs in ’71,’77 and at Jefferson in ’83 & ’84. Five Conference Team Champs ’72-’76. Four District/region Team Champs’72-’76. Six Region Squad Champs ’74-’76. Six Regional Individual Champs ’73-’77. One State Individual Champ in slalom- Peter Wilson ’73. Two Regional Boys Slalom Champs ’79-’80 (I worked at the Olympics both years). Fifteen boys and girls Slalom Conference and Regional champs. Two Jumping Squad Champs ’77-’84.

            Those years in high school ski coaching were the most exciting, sport changing and exhausting years of my career. I started out coaching alone for a few years, then one assistant and later a second assistant. The sport was expanding, changing, causing financial problems, etc, etc. I think I had too many fires and a lot of irons, but managed to at least keep them warm.