Jack Kucera is an American author, poet and blogger whose works have been published in various literary journals.
He is an avid skier who competes with Calgary Racing Club. Additionally, he serves as an RSU 24 district teacher’s substitute since October of 2022.
Air Force Academy recently received a $10 Million donation from former student-athlete Jack Kucera ’78 and his wife Vianne as part of their multi-phase Falcon Stadium vision plan. This gift will speed progress on this ambitious goal.
Early Life and Education
John Kucera was born in Calgary, Alberta to parents who immigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1980. Soon after birth, Kucera started skiing racing – beginning as early as 18 months – competing in all five alpine disciplines such as downhill and super-G events before going onto make his world cup debut at just 12.
Kucera is well known for his fierce devotion to his artists; when critics or curators fail them he becomes quite defensive. At the same time he offers generous amounts of his time and insight – once even mounting an exhibition of photographer James Byrd in Seattle which featured 110 pieces which filled his gallery.
He took risks, like inviting artist Humaira Abid to his gallery in 1986 and showing her works focusing on gender, violence and searching for home.
John Kucera has established himself in an action-packed sport where risk-taking is the norm as two-time world downhill champion. But in 2009 he experienced his fair share of challenges: breaking his leg after an unfortunate crash at Lake Louise.
He returned to the World Cup in 2010, competing as a forerunner. Now his focus lies in breaking into the top 10.
Kucera enjoys spending his off time catching up with friends and family in Canada, watching movies like 8 Seconds, Saving Private Ryan, Wedding Crashers as well as country and classic rock music.
Achievement and Honors
Kucera, an Air Force Academy graduate and former Falcon football team captain, currently serves as president and CEO of Varitec Solutions and recently donated $10 million towards renovating Falcon Stadium for future seasons. They hope to break ground after 2022’s football season begins.
Kucera made his World Cup debut in November 2004 and quickly secured his first podium finish – a super-G victory – just a few weeks later in Val Gardena. A decade later at Val-d’Isere in France he claimed his maiden World Championship downhill title, finishing only behind Didier Cuche and Carlo Janko by mere fractions. Today he leads an ensemble group of Canadian downhillers that includes both his former teammates as well as more inexperienced competitors.
Kucera made his mark early in the 2006-07 World Cup season, winning a super-G race on home snow at Lake Louise and placing third in a giant slalom event held by Val Gardena a few weeks later.
He made history as the first Canadian to ever win a downhill race at the World Championships, in 2009. Following last season, he announced his retirement from alpine racing.
Vianne and John donated $5 Million to Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium renovation project in 2022, during a football game ceremony attended by Lt. Gen Michelle Johnson ’81 and Athletic Director Nathan Pine – marking one of the largest contributions ever to an athletic program at this military service academy. Their family owns Varitec Solutions out of Denver as well.
Kucera managed to take part in one downhill race at Lake Louise despite his injuries, placing 14th. Unfortunately, however, his season ended abruptly after an unfortunate super-G race crash left him with broken tibia and fibula bones as well as torn calf muscles in November.
Kucera’s philanthropic efforts extend well beyond skiing, as evidenced by his donation of $10 Million to Air Force Academy football stadium. With this gift and other alumni donations combined, renovation of Falcon Stadium East Side is being undertaken.
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