Two legends -- in Alaska football and basketball -- were selected Monday as the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2013, but the winner of the Sports Moment category is an event that continues to echo around the world 27 years after it happened.
In May of 1985, Kenai Peninsula angler Les Anderson landed the 97-pound world record king salmon on the Kenai River, a mark that continues to stand to this day and inspire a new generation of anglers seeking the mythic 100-pound king.
The late high school football coach Buck Nystrom, who won a record 150 games and two state championships at Eielson and North Pole high schools, joined legendary Southeast basketball star Herb Didrickson as the Class of 2013. Didrickson was a star for Sheldon Jackson Junior College in the 1940s and is considered the Jim Thorpe of Alaska, according to Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Executive Director Harlow Robinson.
Joining the world-record king salmon in the Moment category is Anchorage runner Chris Clark’s improbable victory in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Clark trained all winter on her home treadmill preparing for the February Olympic Trials race. Heading into that race, she was not considered much of a challenger before running away with victory, shaving a whopping seven minutes off her personal record. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, later that year, she finished 19th in a personal best time of 2 hours, 31 minutes, 35 seconds.
Fairbanks’ Equinox Marathon, considering one of the toughest and most scenic marathons in America, was chose in the Hall of Fame’s event category. The Equinox, created by the University of Alaska ski team, celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer.
"It's a class as diverse as our state's sports history,” Robinson said after the selections were announced on Monday. “This group represents greatness across eras of time, genres of sport and also across the vast geography of Alaska."
More than 1,700 people participated in the public voting process. The public vote total constituted one ballot equal to a selection panel member's ballot.
"At the end of the day,” Robinson note, “some people will be disappointed that their candidate didn't get in, but it's encouraging that many people are getting involved in the public process."
A selection panel of sports reporters and coaches was headed by Bob Eley, sports editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
For details, read the Hall of Fame’s website.