James Edmound Shea, Jr. (born June 10, 1968) is a retired American skeleton racer who won the Gold medal in dramatic fashion at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Shea also was chosen by fellow athletes to recite the Athlete’s Oath during the Opening Ceremonies and along with his father, Jim Shea Sr., passed the Olympic Torch to the 1980 U.S. Mens’ Hockey Team who ignited the Olympic Cauldron. Shortly before the Olympics he was a guest of Laura Bush in the First Lady’s Box at the 2002 State of the Union Address.
Shea was the third generation of his family to take part in Winter Games. His father competed in nordic combined and cross-country skiing events in the 1964 Winter Olympics, and his grandfather, Jack Shea, won two gold medals in the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid in speed skating. His grandfather also recited the athlete’s oath at the 1932 opening ceremony. The Shea family is the only third generation Olympic family in different sports in history. He was born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, and moved to Lake Placid, New York, in his late teens. He became the first American to win a World Cup race and a World Championship in the sport, and has won more World Cup victories than any other American. He retired in October 2005.