Former Track Star Art Skipper Killed in Small Plane Crash

Oct. 17, 2001

SANDY, Ore. - Former University of Oregon track and field athlete and NCAA javelin champion Art Skipper was killed in a small Cessna plane crashed Tuesday afternoon at approximately 3:55 p.m. in a rural area in eastern Clackamas County.

The other passenger, 37-year-old cousin Ted Skipper, was hospitalized in serious condition after being extricated from the wreckage -- located approximately a mile from an airfield owned by the Skipper family. Various news reports didn't indicate who was the pilot.

Skipper, a native of Sandy, Ore., and currently a resident of Greshman, Ore., was training to become a Portland area firefighter, while his father was a retired area firefighter. The 31-year-old was also married to former University of Oregon athlete Kamala Kohlmeier.

'We are tore up about it. We are really grieving. We lost a valued and loved member of the department,' said Deputy Chief Jim Klum with the Portland Fire Bureau. Skipper had just completed his first year with the bureau.

Witnesses reported seeing the white, single-engine aircraft strike a tree, and one of its wings was apparently sheared off. Smoke could be seen coming from the crash location, and heavy fog was reported in the area at the time. FAA and NTSB authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

Sheriff's Department Spokeswoman Angela Blanchard said the crash site was a field southeast of Sandy along Keisecker Road. She said fire crews had a tough time initially getting equipment to the scene.

Art Skipper was selected by Track and Field News Magazine as the National High School Athlete of the Year in 1988 when he set the national high school record at Sandy High School. He held the UO school record in the javelin for four seasons, and won one NCAA title, two All-America awards and a Pacific-10 Conference title for the University of Oregon from 1989-92. At the national level, he was a two-time Olympic Trials qualifier with a best finish of fifth in 1992. He was also a qualifier for the 1993 World Championships after taking second at the 1993 USA/Mobil Outdoor Track & Field Championships (76.60m/251-4).

Financial contributions in his memory can be maid to the Art Skipper Memorial Fund (to benefit his wife Kamala and their unborn child) at Clackamas County Bank, PO Box 1680, Gresham OR 97030 Ph:503/665-9444, or the Art Skipper Scholarship Fund, Clackamas County Bank, PO Box 38, Sandy OR 97055, Ph: 503/668-5501, ext 2509.

Cards for Art and his family may be sent to: David Douglas High School, Attn: Randy Hutchinson, 1001 SE 135th, Portland OR 97233, and cards for Ted Skipper and his family may be sent to OHSU Hospital, Adult Intensive Care Unit 7A, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97201.

A memorial service for Art Skipper Jr. will be held on October 28, 201 at 2 p.m. at Sandy High School, 17100 Bluff Road, Sandy, Ore., (Phone: 503/668-8011).

Art Skipper Profile

Born: Arthur Frank Skipper Jr. on July 31, 1970 in Portland
Deceased: October 16, 2001, plane crash near Portland.
Athletic Height / Weight: 6-3, 205
Track & Field Event: Javelin

Post-Collegiate & National Level Accomplishments (Nike Oregon Track Club)

  • Competed in javelin at 1992 (Fifth) and 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials (13th-qualifying round)
  • Ranked top-10 in U.S. in 1992 (sixth), '93 (third), '94 (ninth), '95 (ninth)

    Collegiate Accomplishments (University of Oregon, Fall '88-Spring '92):

  • One-time NCAA Champion ('92 - 248-7)
  • Two-time All-American ('91 - 3rd, 234-9, '92 - 1st, 248-7)
  • Four-time NCAA Championships Qualifier (15th-'89, 14th-'90,
  • One-time Pacific-10 Conference Champion ('92 - 235-11)
  • Two-time Pacific-10 Conference runner-up ('89, '90), and third as a junior ('91).
  • Broke school record initially as a freshman (228-2 at TAC Junior Championships in summer of '88), and eventually raised mark to 251-8 as a senior in 1992 - also his best-ever mark including post-collegiate career.
  • Ranked sixth in U.S. rankings as a senior in '92, and owned season best and school record of 251-8.
  • Won 1989 U.S. TAC Junior Championships in summer after freshman season.
  • Won team's George Scharpf Outstanding Athlete Award as a senior (1992).
  • Set final school record mark of 251-8 at Pepsi Team Invitational as a senior (1992).
  • Older brother Scott Skipper (Oregon '88) held prior UO javelin record with throw of 223-9 from '87.

    Prep Accomplishments (Sandy High School '88, Sandy, Ore.):

  • National javelin record holder with throw of 259-10 (old implement) as a senior at 1988 state championships at Hayward Field that broke Russ Francis' record by one inch.
  • Took eighth in 1988 World Junior Championships (222-4) in Sudbury, Canada, summer after his senior year.
  • Won 1988 U.S. TAC Junior Championships in summer after senior season.
  • Claimed 1988 Gatorade and Track and Field News Athlete of the Year honors as a high school senior in 1988.
  • Owned other prep bests of 11.2 (100), 4:41 (1,500), 21-2 (long jump), 6-0 (high jump), 12-0 (pole vault)

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