BEAVER CREEK, CO – The International Ski Federation Saturday honored longtime journalist Hank McKee (Waterbury, VT) with presentation of the FIS Journalist Award. McKee, who has covered the sport for nearly three decades with Ski Racing magazine, was recognized at a gathering of U.S. Ski Team alumni during the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup races in Beaver Creek.
The FIS Journalist Award is presented by the sport’s international governing body for career contributions to the sport on a worldwide basis. Selections are made by national ski associations on behalf of the FIS. McKee is the tenth U.S. journalist honored since the award was initiated in 1996.
“As a sport, we are blessed to have journalists like Hank who put a personal passion into their coverage of our sport,” said Tom Kelly, chairman of the FIS PR and Mass Media Committee. “One of Hank’s hallmarks has been his personal connection to athletes over many years. So it was very fitting that he was honored in front of so many great past stars of our sport.”
The traditional crystal statuette was presented by Kelly, along with Ski Racing publisher and 2007 recipient of the award, Gary Black.
McKee grew up in western New York state and found his way to a publications position with the then U.S. Ski Association’s Eastern office in Brattleboro, VT in the late ’70s. After spending several years on publications like Skier, he joined the staff of Ski Racing magazine in the early ’80s. He has been a fixture there ever since.
“This award is like the Oscar for what I do,” said McKee. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. My dad was a newspaper editor and introduced me to writing. He taught me about the sheer joy of writing, and writing well, which is its own joy much like skiing. And he also taught me about excellence.”
McKee’s career has been spent writing stories about athletes, with nearly 100 athletes, coaches and other team officials from the past gathered in the room. Through that time he has also become the Wikipedia of the sport, collecting and databasing statistics covering every facet of ski racing. If you need a factoid, Hank will be the one who has it.
McKee joins a long list of American journalists who have had profound impact on the sport through their personal engagement in media coverage. Among those is McKee’s personal friend and colleague, Paul Robbins, who was honored posthumously last April. McKee was also honored this fall with the Paul Robbins Journalist Award from the Vermont Ski Museum.
Several other past recipients were on hand for the presentation including Ski Racing Publisher Gary Black (2007), noted film producer Joe Jay Jalbert (2002), and longtime U.S. Ski Team coach and ABC/ESPN commentator Bob Beattie (1997).
FIS JOURNALIST AWARD
2010 – Hank McKee, Ski Racing
2010 – Paul Robbins, Freelance Journalist
2008 – Mike Clark, Associated Press
2007 – Gary Black, Ski Racing
2002 – Peter Diamond, NBC
2002 – Joe Jay Jalbert, Jalbert Productions
2001 – Anita Verschoth, Sports Illustrated
1999 – Charlie Meyers, Denver Post
1998 – John Fry, Ski Magazine
1997 – Bob Beattie, ABC/ESPN
1996 – William Oscar Johnson, Sports Illustrated