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Death of Olympic medalist Nikolai Anikin

Thu, Nov  19, 2009 - By Mike Muha

Nikolai Anikin, the 77-year-old Olympic medalist in cross country skiing, passed away at his home in Duluth, Minnesota last Saturday. He lost his battle with cancer.

Nikolai was a three-time Olympic medalist, winning a gold medal for the Soviet Union team in the 1956 Games. Born in Siberia, he spent 27 years coaching the Russian National Cross Country Ski Team after he finished racing. He and wife Antonina then moved to Duluth where he spent several years coaching the U.S. Ski Team. He later helped found the Gitchi Gumi Sports Association.

Many of us remember Nikolai from ski clinics he held at Frobush Corner.

He is survived by his wife, son (Nikolai Jr.) and daughter (Irina).

In the spirit of celebrating Nikolai’s life - his enthusiasm, affection, and wit – please send your stories about him to Christa Case Bryant so she can put them together in an anthology through which his humor and love of life can continue to be shared even as he has gone on. Both stories he told you and stories of his interactions with you or others would be warmly welcomed.

Christa would like to have it ready in time for the Dec. 6 celebration of his life at Snowflake in Duluth, so please send them to by Nov. 27. Please include your full name, city of residence, e-mail address, and phone number so that I can follow up with any questions. Feel free to send photos as well.