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Surgeon Breaks Through Boys' Club, Scales Olympic Heights

Ryan Chiavetta, for HealthLeaders Media, July 9, 2014

Gloria Beim, MD, pushed past gender bias early in her career to become an orthopedic surgeon, found her own practice, and be named Chief Medical Officer for the United States Olympic Committee.

Gloria Beim, MD, an orthopedic surgeon based in Colorado, never thought she'd learn to speak Russian.


Trotter

Gloria Beim, MD
Photo: Alpine Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Clinic

But in February 2013 the United States Olympic Committee called, and offered Beim a position. This wasn't the first time she had worked with the USOC. She had been the team physician for cycling and taekwondo in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and a venue medical director in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

This position was different. Beim was being asked to become the Chief Medical Officer for Team USA during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The orthopedic surgeon was beyond enthusiastic about the offer, and determined put forth her best effort. Her first task: start learning Russian and began to prepare for a big challenge.

Early Adversity
Before Beim was running the show in Sochi, she first had to climb the ladder in the field of orthopedics. After suffering several knee injuries at the age of 16, Beim was introduced to orthopedics as a patient. Originally wanting to be a veterinarian, she quickly grew interested in orthopedics, which would give her a chance to treat athletes such as herself.

Making her way through the orthopedic field wasn't easy, though, as Beim's competency was frequently challenged because of her gender.

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