Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sliding Sports Museum Plans, Hall of Fame Inductees

With the bobsled and skeleton 2012 World Championships wrapping-up in Lake Placid, sliding sports enthusiasts will be gathering to celebrate the history of the sport at two events on Saturday. The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) will induct its second class of Hall of Fame members at 2 pm this Saturday, Feb. 25 following the first two heats of the World Championship four-man bobsled race at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Lamy Lodge. Then, at the same location at 2:30 pm, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) will unveil plans for a planned International Sliding Sports Museum (ISSM) and a related Science and Technology Park to be located at Mt Van Hoevenberg.

Believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, the facility is expected to feature the history of the sports of bobsled, skeleton and luge drawing on the collections on display at the Olympic Sports Complex and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Historic race sleds, equipment, video, photos, medals and trophies can already be seen at both locations, but organizers say a greater, more complete story remains to be told.

“Lake Placid is an ideal location for such a museum, it has played a vital role in the development and history of all of the sliding sports,” said ORDA chairman Patrick Barrett. “And because of its unique location, within a facility used by thousands of athletes from around the world, this location is ideal for educating the current and future athletes about the history and the development of their sports, while at the same time educating and inspiring a global audience.”

The USBSF has announced that Tony Carlino, Brian Shimer, Jill Bakken, Stanley Benham, and Eddie Eagan will be the five inductees for this year’s Hall of Fame. The USBSF Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the sports of bobsled and skeleton. Their dedication and commitment as athletes and supporters of the USBSF will be forever honored through their induction into the Hall of Fame.

“We have a rich history, and it’s important for our current athletes to have a connection with that history,” said Darrin Steele, USBSF Chief Executive Officer. “Recognizing former athletes and contributors to the sport that helped pave the way for where we are today is essential. It’s also important for our future athletes to look at what today’s champions have done to continue that legacy of success.”

Carlino invested his career in the sport of bobsled as an athlete, coach, administrator, and as the manager of the Olympic Sports Complex. Carlino competed on the national team from 1976-1988 and was a medal winner in many national events before transitioning to a head coach and international federation jury, sports commission and track commission member. He is a proactive track manager that is fondly referred to as the “Bobfather” by competitors worldwide. Carlino has successfully hosted World Cup and World Championship events, fostered beneficial relationships with foreign nations, and continues to enable the development and success of the U.S. team.

As an athlete and coach, Shimer has helped create one of the strongest men’s bobsled teams in U.S. history. Shimer began coaching in 2002 after an illustrious career spanning five Winter Olympic Games, which culminated with a bronze medal in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since Shimer took the helm of the men’s team, he’s helped men’s bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb make history. Holcomb broke a 50-year medal drought by winning the 2009 World Championship title in four-man, a 62-year gold medal drought by winning the 2010 Olympic four-man race, and most recently claimed the first-ever two-man bobsled World Championship title for the U.S. in Lake Placid just this Sunday.

Bakken was the youngest bobsledder in the history of competition at the age of 16. She teamed with Vonetta Flowers to win the inaugural women’s bobsled Olympic gold at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games to help carve the path for women in bobsled. Bakken’s win started the team on a trajectory of success by capturing the first U.S. bobsled gold medal since 1952. She and Flowers inspired generations of women’s bobsledders that followed them, and fought to represent their country for the first time in the sport’s history.

Stanley “Stan” Benham was an American bobsledder who won several World Championship, Olympic and North American Championship titles for the U.S. during his competitive career from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Benham’s World Championship titles were the first for the U.S. program. After retiring from competition, Benham served as an official with the international federation and did some commentary for televised bobsled competitions.

At the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., Eagan became the first and only person to ever win a gold medal in two different sports at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Eagan competed as a boxer in the 1920 Summer Olympics, where he won gold in the light heavyweight division. Twelve years later, Eagan arrived in Lake Placid and competed with pilot Billy Fiske and fellow push athletes Clifford “Tippy” Grey and Jay O’Brien to win the four-man Olympic gold medal in 1932. He was the first of only four Olympians to medal in both the Winter and Summer Games, and remains the only competitor to win gold medals in both.

Over 30 nominees were considered for their achievements and contributions as athletes and sport contributors. Nominees in the athlete category must have competed internationally, be retired for a minimum of 10 years, and must have demonstrated a high level of character, teamwork, accomplishment and sportsmanship. Sport contributor nominees were considered based on the significant impact made in the sport over the period of at least five years.

Those interested in reserving tickets for the Hall of Fame induction should call (518) 523-4436.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit museum and invites participation in the museum planning. If you wish to sponsor some part of this experience or have artifacts or stories that would enhance the collections, contact the Museum at 518-302-5363/ or Rebecca Dayton at the Olympic Sports Complex at 518-523-3419/

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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