Johnny Spillane’s moment finally comes as he’s about to be honored at Hall of Fame celebration
Johnny Spillane has waited nearly two years for this moment, and on Saturday, March 26, the Steamboat Springs Nordic combined star will be honored for a lifetime of achievements in Sun Valley, Idaho.
“Obviously, they had to cancel that first year because when COVID started, and then again last year, so I guess we are going this weekend,” Spillane said. “I didn’t give it any thought at all. I just kind of figured, at some point, they would do it, and when they did, great.”
Spillane was named as an inductee to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame’s class of 2019, but because of the pandemic, the ceremony was pushed back in 2020 and then again in 2021.
This year the Hall of Fame made plans to honor the classes of 2019 and 2020 in two ceremonies — one in the east and another in the west.
The eastern class was honored March 5 in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. That class included Sherman Poppen (2019), a former Steamboat Springs resident and the inventor of a predecessor to the snowboard called the “Snurfer,” along with five other inductees.
The western class will be honored this weekend in Sun Valley. That class includes Spillane (2019), who spent 13 years on the U.S. Team and competed in the Olympic Winter Games in 2002, 2006 and 2010, where he became the first American Nordic combined skier to win an Olympic medal. He collected the silver medals in the individual normal hill, the individual large hill and team event.
This weekend Spillane will be surrounded by family, friends and teammates as he becomes the first member of the storied 2010 Nordic combined team to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but he doesn’t expect to be the last.
“It’s obviously an honor; there is a lot of great history and great skiers that are part of the Hall of Fame,” Spillane said. “I’m excited to be a part of it, and it’s going to be exciting to see because I think we’ll see a couple of my teammates getting in there as well in the near future.”
Spillane believes his teammates — Olympic gold medalist Bill Demong and Nordic combined standout Todd Lodwick, who was a member of six U.S. Olympic teams, won 27 World Cup events and stood on the podium 58 times — will join him someday.
Those American stars joined Spillane and Brett Camerota to bring home the silver medal in the team event at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
“I don’t think it’s any one particular result. I think it is a combination and a reflection of an entire career,” Spillane said of being inducted. “We did some really great things as individuals and as a team, and so it’s fun to have that recognized.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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