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Fun Fact: Did You Know That America's First-Ever Olympic Downhill Skiing Medalist is from NH?

Jan 31, 2022 01:16PM ● By Rose Terami
1960--Did you know Penny Pitou, the first American to win an Olympic downhill skiing medal, is from New Hampshire?

Born in 1983, Penny moved with her family from New York to Center Harbor, NH, when she was three years old. She learned to ski in her backyard and then continued to develop her skills at the Gilford Outing Club. When she was 15, Penny and her family moved again to Laconia. Penny tried out for the all-male ski team in high school and managed to squeeze her way in. At seventeen, Penny was recruited for the U.S Olympic Ski Team. She was mentored by Andrea Mead Lawrence, an Olympic double medalist, who motivated Penny to pursue her talent on the slopes. Penny went to Middlebury College in Vermont and graduated in 1960, the same year she won silver medals for skiing at the Olympics in Squaw Valley, California.

Penny met her husband, an Austrian alpine skier named Egon N. Zimmerman, in 1958 at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. They settled in New Hampshire with their two children. Today, Penny runs a ski school that takes students on trips to European resorts where they continue to foster their love for the sport.

This year, the Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing from February 4 – 20. They will air on NBC and Peacock and can also be streamed live on and the NBC Sports App.

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