Mushers, Olympic champs make Hall of Fame

Five athletes make cut for Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2007

Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mushers and Olympians dominated the inaugural class of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.

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The selection committee named five athletes, two moments and one event for the Hall's very first class.

Mushers George Attla and Susan Butcher were honored while Olympic gold medalists Tommy Moe and Kristen Thorness also reached the Hall. New Jersey Devils forward and Anchorage native Scott Gomez was the fifth athlete honored by the committee.

In the moments category, Hudson Stuck and Walter Harper's ascent of Mount McKinley in 1913 and the 1985 Iditarod victory by Libby Riddles, the first women to win the legendary race, were honored.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was named as the first event in the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.

The 73-year-old Attla from Huslia is regarded as one of the best sprint mushers in history. He won 10 Fur Rondy World Championships and dozens of other titles. Attla, an Athabaskan Indian, was also immortalized in the movie, "Spirit of the Wind."

Butcher, who died this year at 51, won three consecutive Iditarod titles and four overall and was one of the sport's most dominant sled dog racers. Butcher was named one of the "100 Greatest Female Athletes" by Sports Illustrated and twice won the National Women's Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of the Year an the U.S. Victor Award for Female Athlete of the Year twice in a row.

Moe became the first American man to win two medals in the Olympics by taking gold and silver in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehamer. The Girdwood native is the only Alaskan ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Anchorage's Kristen Thorsness was the first Alaskan to win an Olympic medal by taking gold as part of the women's eight-woman rowing team in the 1984 Summer Olympics. She went on to create the Anchorage Rowing Association.

Anchorage's Gomez won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000 and 2003 and represented the United States in the 2006 Winter Olympics. He was named the NHL's rookie of the year in 2000.

Juneau's Carlos Boozer, Hilary Lindh and late Juneau-Douglas High School football coach Reilly Richey all received votes in the athlete category while the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament was nominated in the event division.

Lindh's silver-medal winning performance in 1992 Winter Olympics was nominated in the moment category.

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