Floyd Bedbury, a two-time Olympic speedskater who coached the sport in the Twin Cities for decades, has died.
Bedbury, of Falcon Heights, died Friday of cancer. He was 73.
Bedbury first put on speedskates at age 9 in 1946, looking to race on a plowed circle of ice at Como Park in St. Paul. He reached the sport's zenith as an Olympian in 1960 (Squaw Valley) and again in 1964 (Innsbruck).
"My whole life I've just wanted to race," Bedbury said in a 2008 interview with the Star Tribune.
He set U.S. records in the 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters and also competed in cycling, winning five Minnesota state road titles.
He has been a longtime coach at the Twin City Speedskating Club at the Guidant John Rose Oval in Roseville, a club he helped form. Some of his pupils have reached national, World Cup and Olympic levels.
In announcing the death on the club's website, fellow coach Steve Trynoski described Bedbury as a "tireless advocate of our sport."
"Over the years, many local speedskaters from every club benefitted from his coaching expertise, as he never turned down a skater's request for technical help," Trynoski added. "He will be fondly remembered and profoundly missed."
Bedbury was inducted into the National Speedskating Museum's Hall of Fame in 2008.
"As a 9-year-old, and without parental permission, he walked two miles to a speedskating event and came home with a third-place medal," according to Bedbury's Hall of Fame biography. "Six years later, Floyd was winning national events and looking forward to greater things."
Services for Bedbury are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell Funeral Home, 515 Hwy. 96, Shoreview. Interment will be at Roselawn Cemetery in Roseville. Memorials are suggested to the Guidant John Rose Oval.
Bedbury is survived by his wife, Janet Pankonin, and daughter Gayle.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482