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Press Release: USAT to Induct Inaugural Hall of Fame Class in Colorado Springs in January

Posted Dec 20 2008 5:40pm


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (Dec. 15th) USA Triathlon is pleased to announce that it will induct its Inaugural Hall of Fame Class at a banquet on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The ceremony - scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. - will be part of the annual USAT Race Director' s Symposium at the Broadmoor Resort.

The Hall of Fame class includes five individuals - recognized in four categories - who were instrumental in bringing the sport of triathlon to national prominence over the past 26 years: Verne Scott (contributor), Jon Gray Noll (contributor), Judy Flannery (age group athlete), Karen Smyers (pre-2000 elite athletes), and Sheila Taormina (post-1999 elite athlete).

"The multisport lifestyle has experienced significant growth across all disciplines over the past few years. While it would be easy to focus on just the present with an eye to the future, it would be a huge mistake for USAT not to look back and at the very least recognize those outstanding individuals that led us to where we are today," said USAT CEO Skip Gilbert. "We are all thankful to this group for having the vision, the dedication and the passion for multisport and their contributions in making our sport and this organization what it is today."

The class was officially announced last fall following a long process that included nominations by the USAT membership and a thorough screening process of the nominees.

Attendance for the banquet is being capped at 150.

Registration is now open at

2009 Hall of Fame Class Bios

Judy Flannery, Age Group Athlete
One of the sport' s early age group stars, Judy won seven national triathlon titles, two duathlon national titles, four triathlon world gold medals, and five duathlon world gold medals. She was instrumental in establishing the USAT Women' s Committee and annual women' s breakfasts at major national and international races. She persuaded the Danskin Series to become USAT-sanctioned and inspired thousands of women to become involved in the sport. She was tragically killed while biking in 1997.

Verne Scott, Contributor
Based out of his bedroom office and on a shoestring budget, Verne Scott worked tirelessly to put everything, big and small, in place for the establishment of the Triathlon Federation (USA Triathlon) in the 1980s. Rules, event production standards, sanctioning process, championships, meetings, membership, magazine, without Verne nothing would have been completed. Although his son, Dave, may be the most famous athlete in the family, Verne had his share of age group wins. After retiring as Executive Director of Tri-Fed in 1987, Verne returned to his full time responsibility as a professor at University of California-Davis until his retirement in 1989 at age 65. He continues to swim and work out three to four times per week, coaches swimming classes for beginning adults, plays golf, and serves as a volunteer for community service activities.

Sheila Taormina, Post-1999 Elite Athlete
Sheila is considered by many to be one of the greatest athletes in history and is one of only a handful to have ever risen to the top in three separate sports. After a successful swimming career, which included a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Sheila made the move to triathlon. She won silver at the 2003 Pan American Games, gold at the 2004 ITU World Championship, and earned podium finishes at 10 ITU World Cups - including three wins. She is the only U.S. woman to make two Olympic teams, finishing 6th in 2000 and 23rd in 2004. Not content to walk away from sports, Sheila sought a new challenge in 2005 and quickly began to excel in the sport of modern pentathlon. After three world cup podiums, Sheila made history by making her fourth Olympic Games - in three sports. She finished 19th at the Beijing Olympics.

Karen Smyers, Pre-2000 Elite Athlete
Karen Smyers is one of the most versatile women in the history of triathlon. Over her professional career, she accumulated seven national triathlon titles (including six in a row), one national duathlon title, two world triathlon medals, and one victory at Ironman Kona. Her 1995 double of winning at Kona and returning two weeks later to capture the ITU triathlon world title is perhaps the single most remarkable achievement in the sport to date. Karen was also a Pan American Games gold medalist and a three-time USOC Triathlete of the Year. She continues to serve as an inspiration through her coaching, writing, speaking, and sharing her story of surviving cancer.

Jon Gray Noll, Contributor
President of Tri-Fed from 1984 to 1989, Jon Gray Noll teamed with Verne Scott to establish the foundation of the National Governing Body. His accomplishments include the establishment of the first set of competitive rules and the first true set of event production standards, while putting the organization' s business plan in place. He also helped rebuild the organization' s structure and bylaws to conform to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. He was instrumental in creating the NGB' s first magazine (Transition Times) and securing its national distribution, and he also created the Tri-Fed National Championship as a separate race. His final act in office involved appointing the delegation that helped create the International Triathlon Union and the ITU World Triathlon Championship.

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