Bobsled icon Forrest Morgan dies

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Forrest "Dew Drop" Morgan, a national bobsled champion and former manager of the U.S. Olympic team, has died.

His family said Monday that Morgan died Saturday at AMC-Uihlein Mercy Center in Lake Placid. He was 90.

Born in Saranac Lake, N.Y., in 1922, Morgan attended the bobsled races at the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, getting a ride on the shoulders of American gold medalist Billy Fiske, and was hooked.

After serving as a bombardier in World War II and the Korean War, Morgan started sliding actively in the 1950s and won the national championship as a brakeman in 1959 with neighbor Tuffy Latour.

Morgan never made the Winter Olympics as a competitor, though he was in the running for the 1960 team when it was decided there would be no bobsled competition in Squaw Valley.

Morgan managed the 1976 U.S. team in Innsbruck, coached the sport, and was a member of the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation's board of directors for a decade.

Morgan had 11 children, and all seven of his sons competed in bobsled or luge. At the U.S. bobsled tryouts for the 1980 Lake Placid Games, four of his sons tried to qualify in the same sled, with Jim driving and Bryan, Sean and John behind him. The Morgan brothers did not qualify, but they did have a spectacular crash that showed all four being thrown out of the sled.

Jim qualified USA-1 for the 1981 world championships in Cortina, Italy, but was killed in an accident on his third run. John Morgan has been a commentator for the American networks at the last eight Winter Olympics.

Forrest Morgan was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation in 2002 and was inducted into the Lake Placid Hall of Fame the next year. He is survived by five sons and four daughters.

"Saranac Lake has lost its greatest icon," Saranac Lake mayor Clyde Rabideau said. "No other person was so emblematic of Saranac Lake's zest for life, friendliness and loyalty. He was a character in the best sense of the word and he had character, the rock-solid kind that got him through a World War II POW camp and back home to raise a large and robust family and give so much life to Saranac Lake."