The Irish American Heritage Museum is proud to present Michael Burgess and his interesting look into an often overlooked portion of Irish American Olympian Jack Shea's life
Just three years after he streaked past the best skaters in the world and won two gold medals in the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics, Jack Shea took a principled stand to boycott the 1936 games in Nazi Germany. His strong Christian faith and his family's close relationship with the local Jewish population led him to reject Hitler's discrimination and violence against Germany's Jews. A brilliant young athlete born and raise in Lake Placid, Shea vigorously challenged the acquiescence of Avery Brundage, President of the American Olympic Committee, and others who supported participating in the 1936 games. Shea's principled stand and his gold medal fame put him at the intersection of the on-going larger story of international politics and Olympics sports.
Michael Burgess lives in Delmar, New York and has lived in the Albany area since 1979. He grew up in Watertown, New York and has vacationed in Lake Placid for over forty years. He attended the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. In 2012 he wrote and published A Long Shot to Glory: How Lake Placid Saved the Winter Olympics and Restored the Nation's Pride. He has had a career as an advocate on health and aging issues, serving as Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007, he was appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer as Director of the New York State Office for the Aging and later re-appointed by Governor David Paterson. He currently is a consultant to community organizations in the Albany area.