First Year of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame
“USA Triathlon is pleased to recognize Verne Scott, Jon Gray Noll, Judy Flannery, Karen Smyers, and Sheila Taormina as the inaugural class of the USAT Hall of Fame.
Two innovators who nurtured Tri-Fed/USA during its formative years, an age group superstar who has become an inspiration for thousands of female triathletes, and two female elites with accomplishments that few, if any, athletes can match in any sport.”
“This being the first year of the Hall of Fame, everyone on the committee was committed to setting a very high standard and to selecting inductees who truly shaped the sport,” said Chuck Graziano, co-chair of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. “I think we’re all exceedingly pleased with the result and it makes the hours and hours of work worthwhile. In the coming years, we’ll have a great standard to maintain and the stature of USAT’s Hall of Fame will be on par with any Hall of Fame in any sport as a result.”
The selection follows a long process that included nominations by the USAT membership and an arduous screening process of the nominees. The inductees were recognized across four categories: contributor, age group athlete, pre-1999 elite athletes, and post-2000 elite athlete.
The official induction took place at a banquet on Saturday, Jan. 17 2008 as part of the Race Director Symposium at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo.
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.
What does achieving this honor mean to you?
I am incredibly flattered to be chosen for this honor especially on the first round considering the number of great American triathletes we have had over the past few decades.