SOCHI, Russia – Today, retired U.S. Paralympic Nordic skiing coach Jon Kreamelmeyer was inducted into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame at the Ayvazovsky Hotel in Sochi, Russia. Kreamelmeyer was among two others inducted, including retired Spanish visually impaired skier Eric Villalon Fuentes and retired biathlete and cross-country skier Verena Bentele.
"I am overwhelmed and truly honored to be here today. If I could divide this award into pieces, I would give a piece to every athlete I have worked with," said Kreamelmeyer.
“Jon was a true pioneer in Paralympic cross-country,” said Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, USOC. “As both an athlete guide and a coach, he significantly helped advance the sport in the United States. We congratulate him on this tremendous and deserving honor.”
Kreamelmeyer was an athlete guide for cross-country skier Michelle Drolet at the Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994 Paralympic Winter Games, where they won a bronze medal.
He then served as the head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Cross-country Skiing Team from 1998-2006, during which time U.S. athletes claimed 11 Paralympic podium positions, as well numerous World Cup wins and podium finishes.
Launched in 2006 by founding partner Visa, the Paralympic Hall of Fame recognizes retired athletes and coaches who have a track record of excellent athletic performance, history of fair play and participation in community activities.
The IPC received nominations from members of the public and the IPC membership for the Hall of Fame, and the IPC Governing Board was asked to vote on who they felt should be inducted. With this latest induction coinciding with the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, only winter sport athletes and coaches were considered.
Athletic performance, fair play, a contribution to a team or team spirit and behavior away from the field of play were all vital factors in the decision process.
U.S. athlete Muffy Davis, a Paralympic champion in both alpine skiing and cycling, served as master of ceremonies for the induction event.
Previous American winter sport inductees into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame includes retired alpine skier Chris Waddell, who was inducted in 2010. Waddell won five gold, five silver and two bronze medals during his alpine skiing career.