Olympians headline Victoria Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2016

The Victoria Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016 can truly be described as Olympian.

The athletes being enshrined competed in a combined eight Olympics and won three medals.

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Gold- and silver-medallist triathlete Simon Whitfield, one of Canada’s starriest Olympians, heads the Class.

Joining him will be Gerald Kazanowski, so cool and composed as he dominated the middle in helping lead the University of Victoria Vikes to four CIS men’s national basketball championships and Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 1984 L.A. Olympics and sixth place at Seoul in 1988.

Nancy Mollenhauer (nee Charlton) is one of the greatest Canadian field hockey players as she won medals with the national side in the 1983 and 1986 World Cups and placed fifth with Canada in the 1984 L.A. Olympics and also competed in the 1988 Seoul Summer Games. Mollenhauer was also the Canadian flag-bearer during the opening ceremonies of the 1987 Pan Am Games at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Former NHL forward Kent Manderville became a rare Winter Olympian out of the Island when he won silver with Canada at the 1992 Albertville Games, to go along with his two gold medals from the 1990 and 1991 world junior hockey championships.

The elusively quick Simon Keith was almost certainly headed to play internationally for Canada — maybe even as a teen for Canada at the 1986 World Cup — when he was struck almost in mid-stride during his UVic Vikes career with a heart virus. Keith became one of the biggest Island news stories of the 1980s when he underwent a life-saving heart transplant and became one of the rare athletes to play pro sports with a new heart.

The coaches being inducted into the Victoria Sports Hall Class of 2016 produced prolific Olympic-medallist athletes. The late Randy Bennett guided the career of two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane. Bringing the trail-blazing philosophy of volume training, Mike Spracklen coached Canadian rowing crews out of Elk Lake to two Olympic gold medals and a silver in men’s eight, a silver medal in fours and Silken Laumann’s lionized Olympic comeback bronze medal, along with eight world championship medals.

Entering the builder’ category are Bob Moffatt and John and Marilyn Bate.

Moffatt began at the old Victoria Lawn Tennis and Badminton and went on to a renowned career in sports administration nationally, including 16 years as president and CEO of Tennis Canada. Moffatt was a guiding force behind the establishment and operation of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on the Camosun College interurban campus.

The Bates’ long-term commitment to local sports over the years, especially during the old Memorial Arena era, is legendary.

“We’re very honoured, especially when you see all the great names on the walls of the [Save-on-Foods] Memorial Centre, and realize the quality of people who have been inducted before us,” said John Bate, who was integral in the establishment of the Victoria Sports Hall.

The induction ceremonies will take place Oct. 29 at the Westin Bear Mountain.

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