Sports hall welcomes 5

The ranks of the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will swell by five.

The latest group, scheduled to be inducted Nov. 17, were introduced Tuesday. The newest members bring to 38 the number of athletes, teams and builders enshrined in the hall.

Among Tuesday's inductees are two athletes, a team and two builders.

Connie Stamhuis is the oldest living athlete to enter the hall. At 84, she is still an active swimmer and world champion.

Stamhuis has won seven gold medals and four silver medals at the World Masters Swim Championships. Even more incredible, she didn't take up the sport until after she retired at age 65.

"My son, who knew I swam as a kid... he said mom, go swim," she said.

"I started with the Kelowna Masters. I could swim exactly 25 metres, then I had to sit on the stairs. I persevered because of the friendship and the relationships."

Just recently, Stamhuis was part of a team which shattered the Canadian record in the 200-metre mixed relay in the combined age group of 320-350 years.

Blair Horn is one of a select few Kelowna athletes who can claim an Olympic gold medal among his accomplishments.

Horn was a member of the men's 8 rowing team that captured gold at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. The team later won a gold medal at the Lucerne International Regatta.

Horn, and his teammates were inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Horn was also a bronze medalist at the 1983 Pan Am Games.

Kelly Scott and her curling rink out of the Kelowna Curling Club had quite a run during the mid 2000s.

During a three-year span, there was no team in Canada better than Scott, third Jeanna Schraeder, second Sasha Carter and lead Renee Simons.

They won two B.C. Scotties, two national championships and, in 2007, a world title.

"This is a real honour. It's a group of four girls and a coach and, we really haven't had a chance to sit down  and celebrate what we did together," said Scott.

Scott said somehow, trying to juggle young families, jobs, careers and competing at the highest level, they were able to make it work.

"Not many people can say they were able to accomplish what they were aiming for. So, we were pretty lucky in that regard."

Ron Rubadeau said he just feels lucky to be hanging out with those who have been inducted.

"I'm not here because of my metamorphic athletic skills. I'm here because I helped to organize a lot of events in the past," said Rubadeau. "But, it's encouraging for people who have had that kind of role in society to be inducted."

Rubadeau's passion was sailing.

He helped establish the Central Okanagan Sailboat Association in 1982, and was named Canada's top race officer in 1998.

"Sailing as a little kid was my passion and it progressed from sailing to organizing events, and working at world championships, helping Olympic sailors," said Rubadeau.

"But, it's the local club here that's been a passion because Kelowna is home to the largest sailing school in North America. One of the most active, progressive environments happens to be right here."

The fifth inductee is Bob Giordano, also in the builder category.

Giordano, who died in 1965, was a tireless promoter of hockey in the 1950s and '60s. He was GM of the Kelowna Packers and was posthumously honoured in 1999 for his service to hockey in B.C. A Kelowna civic award is named in his honour.

The Bob Giordano Memorial Award is presented yearly to an individual who has contributed significantly to Kelowna through voluntary service to amateur sport, such as coaching or administrative support. 

Tickets for the induction breakfast are on sale at the Kelowna Museum.


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