USA Bobsled and Skeleton
Tony Carlino, Jill Bakken-Linder and Brian Shimer at the 2012 induction ceremony.
STANLEY “STAN” BENHAM
December 21, 1913- April 22, 1970
Stanley “Stan” Benham was an American bobsledder who won several World Championships, Olympic and North American Championship titles for the U.S. during his competitive career from the late
1940s to the early 1960s. Benham barely missed claiming the Olympic title at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, settling for silver medals in both the two-man and four-man events. Benham also won seven World Championship medals, including two four-man bobsled gold medals in the 1949 Lake Placid race and the 1950 Cortina event. Benham’s World Championship titles were the first for the U.S.
program. He also piloted his sled to three North American two-man titles, four North American four-man titles, two AAU two-man titles and four AAU four-man titles as a member of the Lake Placid Bobsled
After retiring from competition, Benham served as a sports official with the International Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing Federation and did some commentary for televised bobsled competitions. Benham lived in Lake Placid for most of his life, where he was the manager of the extensive park district and chief of the volunteer fire department.
April 26, 1897-June 14, 1967
At the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. in 1932, Eddie Eagan became the first and only person to ever win gold medal in two different sports at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Eagan competed as a boxer in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, where he won gold in the light heavyweight division. Twelve years later, Eagan arrived in Lake Placid and competed with pilot Billy Fiske and fellow push athletes Clifford “Tippy” Grey and Jay O’Brien to win the four-man Olympic gold medal in 1932. He was the first of only four Olympians to medal in both the Winter and Summer Games, and remains the only competitor to win gold medals in both.
Eagan developed into a talented amateur boxer while attending the University of Denver before enlisting in the U.S. Army and serving as an artillery lieutenant in France during World War I. After the war, Eagan returned to his studies at Yale University where he was captain of the boxing team. Later, Eagan served as the Assistant U.S. Attorney for Southern New York, lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Corps in World War II, head of New York State Athletic Commission, chairman of President Eisenhower’s People-People sports committee, and director of the sports program for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Sixteen years after passing away, Eagan joined Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph and Mark Spitz, among others, in the inaugural class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Tony Carlino invested his career in the sport of bobsled as an athlete, coach, administrator, and as the manager of the Olympic Sports Complex, site of the combined sliding track on Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Carlino competed on the national team from 1976-1988 and was a medal winner in many national events including North American Championships, AAU Championships and national team selection races as both a driver and a push athletes. He was named AAU All American several times and was the recipient of the 1981 Rookie Driver of the Year award.
After retiring from competition, Carlino was hired to lead the U.S. team as the head coach from 1988-1991. He continued his involvement as an International Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing Federation jury, sports commission and track commission, and was hired as general manager for the sliding venue by the Olympic Regional Development Authority in 2002.
Carlino is a proactive track manager that is fondly referred to as the “Bobfather” by competitors worldwide. He created the FIBT Advanced International Driving School in Lake Placoid and took the lead on creating development programs for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. Carlino has successfully hosted World Cup and World Championship events, fostered beneficial relationships with foreign nations and the international federation, and continues to enable the development and success of U.S. sliders.
April 20, 1962
As an athlete and coach, Brian Shimer helped create one of the strongest men’s bobsled teams in U.S. history. Shimer began coaching in 2002 after an illustrious career spanning five Winter Olympic games. Shimer was just 0.02 seconds shy of the podium in 1998, and his career as one of the world’s best pilots culminated with a bronze medal at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shimer and his four-man crew, along with the four-man team led by silver medalist Todd Hays, became the first American man to medal in bobsled in 46 years. Days after the biggest accomplishment of his sliding career, Shimer was elected by his fellow athletes to carry the U.S. flag at the Closing Ceremony.
Eight years after ending his competitive career with a bronze medal, Shimer celebrated again- this time as head coach of the men’s bobsled team. Shimer coached Steven Holcomb’s four-man bobsled team to victory at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and was once again a part of history, as the team became the first American men to win a gold medal in 62 years. The gold medal winning team awarded Shimer with the 2010 Order of Ikkos, and Shimer as also the recipient of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s 2009 Coach of the Year award.
January 25, 1977
Jill Bakken was member of the first women’s bobsled camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. in 1994 and was the youngest bobsledder in history of competition. Bakken was named the United States Olympic Committee Sportswoman of the Year in 1995, and carved her name into the history books as the first women’s bobsledder to win gold and silver medals with brakeman Meg Henderson in Park City, Utah in Dec. 1997.
Bakken teamed with Vonetta Flowers to win the inaugural women’s bobsled Olympic gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her win started the team on a trajectory of success by capturing the first U.S. bobsled gold medal since 1952. Bakken threaded together the fastest runs of the competition to claim the most memorable victory in women’s bobsled history with a time of 1:37.76. They inspired generations of women’s bobsledders that followed them, and have even provided inspiration across boundaries to female competitors in sports like ski jumping. They fought to represent their country for the first time in the sport’s history, and backed it up by honorably and humbly claiming gold.