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Remembering Val Bialas – Utica’s Olympian

Jeff Monaksi, WIBX

You’ve probably driven by numerous times and you may even skied or snowboarded there.

But do you know the story of the man who is honored with the naming of Val Bialas Ski Center on the Parkway in Utica?.

Valentine “Val” Bialis, was born on January 10th, 1903 in Boston, Massachusetts and lived in Utica, NY.

Bialas was a speed skater who appeared in the 1924, 1928 and 1932 Winter Olympics.

Although he never won an Olympic medal, he finished sixth in the 5,000 meter event and eighth in the 10,000 meter competition at the 1924 Olympics in Chamonix, France.

Val won the International Speed Skating title in Detroit in 1926

Bialas also made the 1936 Winter Olympic team, but was involved in a serious accident after returning from a meet while training for the Olympics.

His car was struck by a train and he lost a leg.

After being fitted with a prosthesis, Bialas continued to skate recreationally and also played in city tennis tournaments.

Bialas was Commissioner of Parks and Recreation in Utica when he.died on March 1, 1965 at the age of 62.

He was inducted into the National Speed Skating Hall of Fame in May of 1963 and the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

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