Olympic medalists, legendary coaches, sports pioneers, a champion boxer, a standout football player, a star hockey player and a chronicler of Vermont’s athletic scene made up the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. They were officially inducted Saturday at a ceremony at the Double Tree Hotel.
The VSHOF's fifth induction class includes Olympic skiers Betsy Snite Riley of Norwich, Vt. and Lindy Cochran Kelley of Richmond; coaches Missy Foote of Middlebury College, Ed Markey of St. Michael’s College and Bernie Cieplicki Sr. of Burlington; the father of U.S. Nordic skiing, John Caldwell of Putney; Olympic equestrian gold medalist Tad Coffin of Stratford; Burlington Free Press sportswriter Don Fillion of Shelburne; Golden Gloves champion boxer Tony Robitaille of Newport; hockey and soccer standout Guy Gaudreau of Beebe Plain; mountain climbing pioneer Helmut Lenes of Shelburne; and legendary distance runner Clarence DeMar of South Hero, a multiple winner of the Boston Marathon.
"Well honestly, I thought 'I'm being inducted with all these Olympians and I just stood on the sidelines and coached a bunch of amazing young women," Foote said. "I'm also so honored to be in the Hall of Fame with these incredible athletes."
"It's an extraordinary honor to be included in this group," Coffin said. "You know, Vermont is a small state but it has so many great athletes. So to be included in this group is really terrific."
"Vermont is always been so special to me so when I was over there, that's who I was racing for," Kelley said. "I can remember riding that chairlift over the course and all these people below me cheering and wishing me well. Vermont was with me when I was doing that. I was very honored."
In addition, Olympic cross country skier Martha Rockwell of Putney was honored for her selection to the hall's fourth class. Due to a prior commitment, Rockwell could not attend the 2015 induction dinner.
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