John Kelleher in the start house of the slalom at Okemo.
of Their Own
Class 13’s John Kelleher and Dick Calvert prove
that speed comes before age BY BILL MCCOLLOM
MASTER RACERS Dick Calvert and John Kelleher might have found
themselves nearly one minute off the pace of GS winner Joel Solly at the
Skier’s Edge Eastern Regional Masters Championships at Okemo Mountain, but they couldn’t have been more pleased with their performances. As
a matter of fact, their showings throughout the championship series from
March 12-14 drew rave reviews from the entire field of racers — and for
Calvert will be turning 87 this summer and Kelleher will be 90 years old in
They had no expectations of keeping up with race winners Chris Knortz and
Lisa Densmore in SG; or Knortz and Jessie McAleer in SC; or Jim Thoman and
Katie George in slalom; or Solly and McAleer in GS. Calvert and Kelleher had
their own goals.
“I was never a first class racer, but I can finish,” said Kelleher. “Just to make it
down twice is very gratifying to me.”
Calvert, on the other hand, is a bit more competitive. With a punishing sleet
stinging racers’ faces prior to the GS race, Calvert was debating whether or not to
run the GS. When told he needed to race in order to win the Class 13 combined
title, Calvert said: “Okay, I’m going! Hells, bells, this is ski racing and you’ve got
to race in whatever’s out there.” Thankfully, the sleet abated and the conditions
were near perfect for the race as Calvert skied to victory.
Calvert isn’t just content to make it down the courses. “I was a little disappoint-
ed with my first run, but I did take four seconds off my second-run time,” he said.
“So yes, I was pleased with my skiing.”
As to why they both continue to ski race, their response was, “Why not?” They
spoke of the thrill of running SG, the ongoing struggle to master slalom tech-
nique, and the interest in solving the mysteries of timing in GS. They admitted
that it’s an ongoing battle to accept the decline in skills that comes with age, but
said that what keeps them coming back is that it’s challenging, it’s healthy and