Date of Birth:
March 7, 1974
City/State of Birth:
Olympics and Events Attended:
1992 Olympics, Albertville, France -Nordic Combined
1994 Olympics, Lillehammer, Norway - Nordic Combined
Ryan Heckman began skiing at the age of four with his father at Alta, Utah. After his family moved to Winter Park, Colorado in 1982, Heckman began ski jumping and cross-country skiing with a local school program. Later they moved to Steamboat Springs, where he graduated in 1993. Rapidly moving up the ranks within the Rocky Mountain Division, Heckman became the youngest ever National Champion at the age of sixteen. At seventeen, Heckman participated in his first Olympics in 1992, skiing for the U.S. Ski Team. Heckman earned three national titles, was a member of four World Championship teams, skied in two Olympic games and before his ultimate retirement in 1997, was ranked the ninth best Nordic Combined skier in the world.
Heckman's career will be remembered for spearheading a rejuvenating U.S. team after finishing nearly last at the 1992 Olympics. By 1997, the U.S. Nordic Combined Team had improved from one of the worst teams in the world in 1992 to the third best team on the World Cup. Tom Steitz, three-time United States Olympic Team coach, says of Heckman's contribution to U.S. skiing: "Ryan showed the next generation it could be done. Ryan opened the door so that younger athletes like Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick could step through it."
Heckman graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado in 1998 with a major in business and a minor in economics. Ryan and his wife Katie, a former CU Buffalo Varsity Ski Team member, live in Denver, Colorado.