Figure Skating Community Remembers Former U.S. Champ, Official Chuck Foster

by Bob Reinert

Chuck Foster competes in pairs figure skating. Photo courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating


Charles “Chuck” Foster gave most of his life to figure skating, on and off the ice. 
Foster, who was inducted to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2003 for his many contributions to the sport, died Nov. 20, 2021, at age 87, in Northern Virginia.
“He was one of the great international ambassadors of our time,” one colleague wrote in a story posted on “There was nobody better in the global arena than the silver fox, who we will miss dearly but one who certainly made a huge contribution to the Olympic movement.”

A competitive skater, Foster won the 1955 U.S. junior pairs championship with partner Maribel Owen while he was still a college student at Harvard University. Owen died in the tragic 1961 plane crash that claimed the lives of the 18-member U.S. delegation bound for the world championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Later, as an official, Foster served two terms as United States Olympic Committee secretary from 1989 to 1996. He also ascended through the ranks of U.S. Figure Skating during the second half of the 20th century and reached the top in 2003 as the organization’s president. He served in that capacity until 2005.
“We need to, as the United States, improve our influence,” Foster told the Associated Press at the time. “This is where we’ve been lacking. We have not paid attention to the (International Skating Union). We’ve let things slip. We haven’t prepared for meetings as well as we should have.
“It’s incumbent on us to be more effective there.”

The second act of Foster’s life in figure skating included various other roles as a judge or referee, in addition to positions with U.S. Figure Skating, the USOC and the ISU.

Foster had been a judge at the world championships in 1976, 1979 and 1986, and was a referee at the event in 1981, 1987, 1998 and 1999. He also judged the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, and was an assistant referee at the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002.
He spent 17 years as a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Association board of directors, and from 1989-90 was the organization’s representative to the ISU.
At the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, he served as chef de mission for Team USA. That was four years after serving as assistant chef de mission at the Calgary Games. 
Foster was also instrumental in helping bring the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic communities together, and in 1998 served as Team USA chef de mission for the Paralympic Games.

A U.S. Army veteran, Foster was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and spent four decades of his life in Duxbury, Massachusetts. 

Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.