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US Bobsled Hall of Fame adds five new members

March 4, 2012
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Five new members were inducted into the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Hall of Fame on Saturday in the Lamy Lodge at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

The ceremony was held in front of a standing-room-only crowd that included numerous residents of the Lake Placid region involved with sliding sports, as well as international visitors who were at the bobrun for the World Championships. It was held during some down time between the opening two runs of the four-man bobsled race and the final two heats of the men's skeleton World Championship competition.

Inducted were Eddie Eagan, Stanley Ben-ham, Jill Bakken, Brian Shimer and Tony Carlino.

Article Photos

From left, Tony Carlino, Jill Bakken and Brian Shimer gather for a photo after being inducted into the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Hall of Fame Saturday, Feb. 25 in Lake Placid.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News

One of Eagan's claims to fame was he became the first and only person to win gold medals in both the summer and winter Olympics. He was a boxer who won the gold in the 1920 Summer Olympics and followed a dozen years later by winning a four-man bobsled gold in Lake Placid in a sled with Clifford Grey, Jay O'Brien and pilot Billy Fiske.

Benham was a competitive bobsledder from the late 1940s until the early '60s and captured Olympic, World Championship and North American titles during his career.

After retiring as an athlete, Benham was an official for the international bobsled federation and also was a television commentator for the sport.

Eagan and Benham both passed away several years ago, but Bakken, Shimer and Carlino were on hand at the ceremony to be honored.

Bakken, who now lives in Canada, was at the forefront in the sport of women's bobsled and was the youngest athlete to compete at the highest level of women's bobsledding at age 16. She drove to the first gold medal at the Olympics in women's history, winning the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games race along with push athlete Vonetta Flowers. Her gold medal there was also the first for the U.S. at the Olympics since 1952.

Shimer competed in a remarkable five Olympics for the U.S. and his persistence paid off when he finally won a medal in his last Winter Games as an athlete, driving to a bronze in 2002.

After retiring from competition, Shimer took the helm of the men's team as head coach and also coaches the American women. Under Shimer's guidance, U.S. bobsledders have racked up numerous medals in a program that has grown into one of the best in the world.

Carlino's involvement in bobsled and skeleton has spanned a career as an athlete to his current position, which is the track manager at Mount Van Hoevenberg. He was a member of the U.S. national bobsled team from 1976-1988, and then moved on to positions of coach, international jury member and sports commission and track commission member.

As the manager of Lake Placid's track, Carlino has helped host sliders from across the globe at numerous World Cup and World Championship events in skeleton, bobsled and luge.

"This is probably the proudest day of my life," Carlino said emotionally when he was introduced at the ceremony.



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