Terry McDermott, Olympic gold medalist who was on Ed Sullivan Beatles episode, dies at 82

Terry McDermott
Terry McDermott attempts to give a haircut to Paul McCartney of the Beatles as the rest of the famous quartet and Ed Sullivan look on./Getty

Terry McDermott, the speed skater who won the lone U.S. gold medal of the 1964 Winter Olympics, then appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” episode that also included the Beatles’ live American TV debut, has died at age 82, according to U.S. Speedskating.

“The USS family is saddened by the news that one of our all-time greats, Terry McDermott, passed away early Saturday surrounded by his family,” according to the national governing body. “Terry had a massive impact on our sport. Our thoughts are with those that Terry inspired over his many decades in our sport.”

McDermott, then 23 and an Essexville, Michigan, native, upset Soviet Yevgeny Grishin for the Olympic 500m title on Feb. 4, 1964, in Innsbruck, Austria. He did so on skates borrowed from U.S. coach Leo Freisinger.

Five days later, McDermott was part of pop culture history. He had been invited to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” skipping the Olympic Closing Ceremony, on what happened to be the same episode that the Beatles had their landmark performance. About halfway through the show, Sullivan called McDermott out to stand from his seat in the audience and take a bow.

McDermott, who was also a barber, said that Sullivan wanted to get a picture of him cutting one of the Beatles’ hair. That led to the famous image of McDermott, surrounded by Sullivan and the rest of the Beatles, pretending to cut Paul McCartney‘s hair.

“They were very polite,” McDermott told NBC for a Sochi Olympic feature commemorating the 50th anniversary. “They called me sir and my wife ma’am. We had a small conversation about the Olympics. At that time, I knew nothing about the Beatles. When they were performing, the place went crazy. Matter of fact, you could hardly hear them in the theater. It was quite a show.”

McDermott returned for the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games, his third Olympics, and shared silver in the 500m. But McDermott was put in the last of 24 pairs on an outdoor oval that melted badly in the sun that day. The gold medalist, West German Erhard Keller, said that McDermott would have won if he was in an earlier pair.

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

Milano Cortina Winter Olympic organizers approve new speed skating venue

Fiera Milano
Fiera Milano

Organizers of the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Olympics unanimously approved using the Fiera exhibition center in Milan as its speed skating venue rather than the 2006 Olympic oval in Turin.

Organizers said the project will be financed privately, and the temporary venue will not be used for speed skating after the Games end.

When it was awarded the Games in 2019, the Milano Cortina plan called for speed skating under a roof at an outdoor track at Baselga di Piné, which lies between Milan and Cortina, which are separated by 200 miles.

The IOC rejected the Baselga plan. Costs for the roof were initially slated at $54 million, according to a project announced in November. But there were concerns that actual costs could rise by at least 50%.

“The IOC said the investment was underestimated and not sustainable for the area and the IOC reserves the right to point the way in terms of executing the Games,” Giovanni Malagò, president of both the 2026 organizing committee and the Italian Olympic Committee, said in January.

The last Olympics to hold speed skating outdoors, where weather can affect ice conditions and therefore results, was the 1992 Albertville Games.

There had been calls from the start of Italy’s 2026 bid to hold speed skating at the existing indoor oval built for the 2006 Turin Games. Turin is 85 miles southwest of Milan, which is 200 miles southwest of Cortina.

Italy’s initial bid declaration in March 2018 was for a joint Milan-Turin candidate. Cortina was added within a week to make it a three-pronged bid. By September 2018, Turin dropped out after political infighting, when a senior Italian official declared the bid “dead.”

But the bid pressed on as Milano Cortina and beat a Swedish bid in the 2019 host election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Jordan Stolz arrives with three golds at speed skating worlds, leaving the Dutch in disbelief


The crescendo of 18-year-old American Jordan Stolz‘s historic weekend came not as he glided powerfully on the most famous ice in speed skating, but as he sat.

Stolz, already labeled “wonderkind” but “straaljager” (jet fighter) by Dutch reporters (the sport’s media of record), finished his last and longest race, Sunday’s 1500m, in the lead with one pair to go.

It wasn’t his most impressive time of his three days of racing at Thialf, the Madison Square Garden of speed skating in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

On Friday and Saturday, he won the 500m and 1000m, skating the second-fastest sea-level time in history in each race to become, twice over, the youngest gold medalist in world single distance championships history (since 1996). (The fastest times in speed skating are set at high altitude, in Calgary and Salt Lake City.)

Stolz wanted to finish the championships as the first man to win three individual gold medals in one edition.

To grasp the gravity of that feat, consider the last two times it happened at the Olympics: Johann Olav Koss, the Norwegian who won the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m, all in world record times, at the Viking Ship at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, and Eric Heiden, Stolz’s fellow Wisconsinite who swept all five golds in Lake Placid in 1980.

German women Anni Friesinger (2003) and Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann (1997) also won three events at a single worlds. Plus, skaters have won three or more distances at the world allround championships, which crown one champion combining results from sprint and distance races and date officially to 1893.

Winning three of the five traditional distances is so difficult because most skaters are separated into three categories, each encompassing two distances: sprints (500m and 1000m), middle distance (1000m and 1500m) and distance (3000m/5000m for women and 5000m/10,000m for men). Rarely does a sprinter win the 1500m. Rarely does a middle distance skater win the 500m or the 3000m/5000m. Rarely does a distance skater win the 1500m.

Stolz, a modest interview, was reflective on Saturday night when looking ahead to the closing 1500m after winning the two sprints.

“Does it still surprise you, how good you are?” a reporter from Dutch broadcaster NOS asked him in the infield.

“Yeah, I think it does, because I don’t expect to be skating that much faster than the best skaters in the world, but somehow I am,” Stolz said.

“You’ll win [the 1500m], I think. What do you think?” the reporter said.

“I think I have a good chance,” Stolz replied. “Between me and Kjeld, I think it’s a pretty similar chance. So I’m not going to pick one.”

After skating into the lead on Sunday, Stolz took a seat within feet of the inside lane to watch the last pair. It included Dutchman Kjeld Nuis, who won the 1500m at the last two Olympics, holds the world record and, following the retirement of Sven Kramer, is the pre-eminent man in the Netherlands’ national sport.

Nuis trailed Stolz’s time after the first lap, unsurprising given Stolz was crowned the world’s best sprinter over the previous two days.

But Thialf grew louder. Nuis moved five hundredths ahead after two laps and 23 hundredths ahead with one lap left, about the time that an American coach (appeared to be Stolz’s personal coach Bob Corby) crouched down, put his arm around Stolz, patted his shoulder and said a few words into his pupil’s right ear.

A grimacing Nuis skated right past the seated Stolz on the back straightaway. He came around the final curve, dropped a hand to his knee and stabbed his right skate out across the finish line to stop the clock.

Thialf hushed. Nuis’ final time was 23 hundredths slower than Stolz. The dethroned Dutchman slammed a fist against his leg and kicked a track marker in frustration.

Stolz hugged American coaches after winning the 1500m, the middle distance that is labeled the “King’s Race” as it can be a gathering place for the world’s best sprinters and world’s best distance skaters.

“I guess I wrote some history,” Stolz said later, according to the International Skating Union. “I was worried [I might not win]. But yeah, I just had confidence in the last lap and I just had a little bit on him.”

Through the weekend, comparisons between Stolz and Heiden continued. Stolz, who also swept the 500m, 1000m and 1500m at last month’s world junior championships, joined Heiden and Heiden’s younger sister, Beth, as the only skaters to win junior and senior world titles in the same year.

Heiden was also 18 when he won the first of his three titles in the world allround championships.

Last year, Stolz became the third-youngest man to make a U.S. Olympic speed skating team, doing so at age 17, just like Heiden did in 1976.

“I can remember when LeBron James walked onto the court and I saw him in his rookie year,” Heiden said before the world championships, according to The New York Times. “There was just sort of this aura around him that I see around Jordan.”

Stolz finished 13th and 14th in his first Olympics. Heiden was seventh and 19th at his first Olympics as a 17-year-old, too. Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen also made their first Olympic teams as teens and left without a medal.

Then Stolz opened this season in November by becoming the youngest man to win a World Cup race. He became the talk of the sport, though he traded wins with missing the podium altogether on the World Cup.

Could he deliver on the biggest stage at the world championships at Thialf? Or was he still growing through inconsistency?

Stolz, who honed his skating on the frozen pond behind the family house, answered emphatically the last three days. It was a shot in the arm for U.S. men’s speed skating, which last won an individual Olympic medal in 2010, though has had world champions since then.

Shani Davis, the 2006 and 2010 Olympic 1000m champion who has coached Stolz, texted him, “Great job,” according to NOS.

“It’s like trying to beat Michael Jordan or something, I assume,” Laurent Dubreuil, the Canadian who was runner-up to Stolz in the 500m, said, according to the International Skating Union. “He’s doing things that we would have deemed impossible.”

Stolz is also effecting the Dutch, who have three years to figure out how to be faster than the straaljager at the next Winter Games.

“If [Thomas] Krol and me would have finished one-two again, it would be like business as usual and easy-going into the summer,” said Nuis, mentioning a teammate who took silver at the Olympics. “But now there’s someone who gives us a real challenge.”

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