Olympic diver Annie Pelletier, basketball Olympian and coach Bev Smith and the 1984 Men’s Rowing Team are among the inductees who will be honoured tonight at the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (COHF) Induction Dinner in Vancouver. The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have served the cause of the Olympic Movement with distinction.

“This year’s inductees truly represent the extraordinary talent and dedication of Canadian athletes and those who support the Olympic Movement as volunteers and administrators,” said Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “We couldn’t be happier to honour these outstanding individuals in the beautiful city of Vancouver, which we hope will be the site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”

At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Canada’s Men’s Rowing Team won the gold medal, warding off a furious last-minute challenge from the home-crowd favourites, the team from the USA. Two of the team members, Blair Horn and Pat Turner, live in the Vancouver area and three others – Dean Crawford, Grant Main and Kevin Neufeld – live in Victoria. The other members of the team are: Michael Evans, Brian McMahon (cox), Paul Steele and Mark Evans, who is flying in from London, England for the honour.
“Being inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame alongside such great sports figures is a tremendous honour,” said Horn. “We were fortunate to have a great coach and incredible support from family and friends and would like to share this honour with them.”

The other inductees are:

Annie Pelletier, who was the first Canadian diver to win a medal at the World Championships; her career culminated in a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Bev Smith, who competed at two Olympic Games (1984, 1996) as an athlete and one as a coach (2000). Her playing career spanned almost two decades and she has a reputation as the best female basketball player that Canada has ever produced.

Ken Lane, who with his partner Don Hawgood, won a silver medal in canoeing at the 1952 Olympic Games. Ken has made a remarkable contribution to canoeing in Canada as an athlete, administrator and official since his first involvement in 1937.

Eldon Godfrey, who has a long history in diving as a volunteer administrator, official and event organizer. He has assumed key volunteer roles at every level of diving and the other aquatic sports.

In addition, the Canadian Olympic Order will be awarded posthumously to former Vancouver resident Harold Wright, an Olympian in athletics in 1932, COC President from 1969 to 1977, and a key volunteer in the growth of field hockey in Canada. The Canadian Olympic Order is accorded to those individuals who have made the Olympic Movement their life’s work and have served it with distinction.

The Induction Dinner, to be held this evening at the Bayshore Resort and Marina in Vancouver, will be hosted by celebrated Olympians Catriona Le May Doan and Steve Podborski. Ticket proceeds from the dinner will go toward the COC’s Excellence Fund to benefit Canadian high performance athletes.

The Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner is part of the 2003 Canadian Olympic Congress, which brings together about 200 athletes, coaches, administrators, volunteers, sponsors and officials from across the country. All 51 Olympic and Pan American national sport federations will be represented at the Congress.