Dr. Gloria Beim, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, will serve as the chief medical officer of the U.S. Olympic team at the Sochi Olympics.

An orthopedic surgeon in rural Crested Butte, Colo., she will oversee three clinics and 77 health care practitioners, and work as liaison between the Team USA medical staff and Russian officials.

An athlete herself and veteran volunteer physician at several international athletic events, Beim studied orthopedics at Columbia University here. She learned Russian in anticipation of receiving this prestigious assignment.

Beim, who has visited the Winter Olympic sites in Russia to inspect the medical facilities, is in her 40s, according to a report in the Denver Post.

Her father, Jack, spent four years in Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Her mother, Adele, was hidden by a Dutch couple for four years.

Beim told the Post that when she was interviewing for a position as an orthopedic surgeon, male physicians told her that a petite woman like her wasn’t cut out for such a strenuous field. She joined a gym and began lifting weights.

During an interview for her residency position, she challenged one chauvinistic male surgeon to arm wrestle her.

She won.

steve@jewishweek.org