January 24, 2007
LAS VEGAS - (USST News Bureau Release) - The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame ran its list of honored members Wednesday to 349, welcoming former Olympic moguls champion Jonny Moseley, former World Championships double-gold medalist and World Cup champion Trace Worthington, and former World Championships slalom medalist and three-time World Cup winner Julie Parisien.
The induction ceremonies were held during a breakfast at the SIA.07 SnowSports Trade Show, the largest skiing and snowboard show in North America, to help showcase the Hall of Fame to the industry. A public recognition ceremony will be held in the fall at the Hall's home in Ishpeming, MI.
"We owe a big debt of gratitude to (SIA President) Dave Ingemie and his staff for making this happen," Bill Marolt, president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, said later. "Tom West (Hall of Fame president and CEO) and his staff, and the board of directors, did a terrific job, but Dave really helped make this happen in Vegas. I'm already looking forward to next year because was a great start in promoting our athletes, their success and the Hall of Fame."
Said West, "We felt it was important to share this treasure," referring to the induction. The first 33 inductions were held in Ishpeming, where the Hall was opened in 1956. A public recognition will be held in Ishpeming in late September for the three newest members. Each of the three received a special Hall of Fame medallion and a plaque.
Moseley opened the door to inverts
Moseley, the 1998 Olympic champion with his 360 mute grab at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, also was cited as pioneer for helping kick open the doors to more creative maneuvers by moguls skiers with his off-axis "dinner roll" in the 2002 season and at the Olympics. Until the 2003 season, skiers were not allowed to do inverted jumps, i.e., their feet could not go above their head.
However, Moseley, pushing to open his sport, according to USSA VP Tom Kelly, who introduced all three former athletes and told part of their story, gave himself up at the Olympics so officials would release some of the restrictions. Within a year, moguls was blown wide open with off-axis permitted in 2003 and inverted jumps with the '04 season.
"It's been a group effort," Moseley said as he began to spotlight his "coaches, mentors and advisors," starting with his parents, who were on hand for the ceremony, sitting with former Coach Cooper Schell and Moseley's new wife, Malia.
Moseley, in his signature easy-smiling manner, pointed out how he followed his two older brothers, Jeff and Rick into freestyle at Squaw Valley in the Lake Tahoe area; Jeff, he said, "was inspired by 'Hot Dog the Movie'" as he entered them in a dual moguls contest; Rick was Moseley's first tutor, he said, and always would critique Jonny's run but then flip out when he'd come out "and I'd be talking to some chick."
He thanked his first coach at Squaw, Raymond deVre, and Schell as well as Glen Plake - the free-living, free-thinking ski icon - for providing some inspiration and said Worthington was "an awesome awesome athlete" who was great as a teammate and friend.
Parisien: from medal-winning skier to gold-medal Mom
Parisien, who retired after the 1999 season and is expecting her fourth child in April, said simply, "It's amazing to be remembered. One day you go from being first in the world (she led the world slalom rankings heading into the 1993 season) to being a suburban mom, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and barely getting a shower in...
"There's no better feeling in the world than when you're arcing a big, fat GS turn. I miss the big GS turns ... the sun over the Alps as you're going up in the chairlift for the first run ...I miss being outside every day in winter," she said. But, in the end, as important as her skiing was, as successful as she was, she always remembered the words of her late and much loved brother, J.P., who was killed by a drunk hit-and-run drive in December 1992, "It's just skiing..."
"I'm proud of what I've done, and everything I learned in skiing I draw on every day" as a mother, challenged at 35 by three youngsters 5, 4, and 2. "We're outnumbered," she referring with a laugh to parents of young kids, but the self-confidence that Parisien developed as a ski racer - from Lost Valley Ski Area to Sugarloaf to Burke Mountain Academy to three Olympics, not to mention two years as the No. 1 woman on the pro tour (r.i.p.) - gives her strength to cope with being a mother and a wife, whose husband is in his last year of medical school.
And, perhaps most important, she said, is what she took away from her brother's death - "Take the good out of everything you can."
She hasn't skied in five years, Parisien said, and she put in a lighthearted bid for new equipment from Rossignol, her longtime ski company. She also took time to specifically thank Jeff Byrne, senior VP of the Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid, NY, who was her first coach at Sugarloaf. "Byrnie, you were the best. That technique you taught me I used all through my career," she said.
"Trace the Ace" - U.S. World Cup, Worlds champ
Worthington, the last to be introduced, watched the video thumbnailing his career, was inducted, and paused as he got to the microphone. "Swee-e-e-e-et!" he said.
Earlier in the week, Worthington said being elected to the Hall of Fame "validated" his career although it wasn't the reason he competed. In the summer of 1986 when he won the junior world aerials title (in Australia), Kelly told the audience, he knew "I could be a great athlete and a great competitor." He would go on to win 37 World Cup events, three World Championships medal (two gold), a half-dozen World Cup titles and nearly a dozen U.S. championships...plus two Olympics.
Worthington, who was born in Minnesota but grew up in Winter Park, CO, remains the only skier to have won two gold medals at a single World Championships. In 1995, he won aerials and combined gold at Worlds in LaClusaz, France. Sadly, however, he - the first American to land a quad-twisting triple (four twists and three flips) - was afflicted with some kind of vertigo or virus which tossed his internal gyro and threatened him as he jumped 50-60 feet off the snow.
Kelly said rather than take up extra time with coaches looking to help him through his medical situation, or whatever it was, Worthington retired to free coaches to work with other athletes on the Ski Team.
"I always looked back; I wanted to see who started my sport. I hope some day I can be an inspiration to kids looking to get into my sport," Worthington said.
Worthington, who had about 20 family members (including his father, brother, and wife Trisha, VP and head of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation) and friends in Las Vegas, laughed as he pointed out Chris Seemann - "C-dawg," his early trampoline buddy after moving to Winter Park. "We'd jump nine hours a day, have 10 Pepsis a day (we thought we were rehydrating ourselves) and we'd just jump all day..."
He cited Wayne Hilterbrand, longtime U.S. head coach and aerials head coach, as the finest coach he ever had. "Anything 'Wayno' told me I did - and I'd win. It was crazy..." He also noted Steve Roxberg, a former acro skier, "was the greatest roommate" and Brian Currutt, a current U.S. coach after retiring in 2003, "revitalized me with his energy at the end of my career."
And he made a pitch to potential Hall of Fame voters to pay attention to two other teammates, former world champ Lane Spina (who lives in Las Vegas "and had 50 more podiums") and aerialist Kris Feddersen, "who had 30 podiums" in his career.