Page 5

THE START

WHO ARE VERMONT'S ATHLETE'S OF THE YEAR? “I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others.” —Calvin Coolidge

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alvin Coolidge gave this speech in Bennington in September 1928, a year after the great flood of 1927 devastated much of the state. He could have also given it today, four years after Tropical Storm Irene. Coolidge’s words still ring true. They are true of the many people who have rebuilt the farms, homes and towns that were washed out during Irene. They are true of so many of our civil servants and our Washington delegation. And they are true of athletes like Kelly Brush. In the 10 years since Brush crashed during a ski race, she has gone on to raise millions of dollars to help others facing spinal cord injuries. As her husband Zeke

Davisson says in "After the Fall," p. 16, “I don’t think I ever once heard Kelly say ‘why me?’” Instead, she helped to set up the Kelly Brush Foundation and to build the Kelly Brush Century Ride, which takes place on September 12 in Middlebury, into one of the most successful fundraising rides in Vermont. Brush is, in my eyes, perhaps the most inspiring athlete in Vermont. But our state has no shortage of other top athletes who show incredible courage. As we went to press with this issue, the Women’s Sports Foundation announced the top 10 finalists for its Sportswoman of the Year awards. On the list of individual athletes are several past winners, including tennis great Serena Williams and gymnastics world champion Simone Biles. And on the list of 10 are two Vermonters: 2015 World Cup Halfpipe snowboard champion Kelly Clark from Dover, Vt. and 2015 World Cup freestyle skiing champion Hannah Kearney, of Norwich, Vt. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in New York on

October 20 and we will keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter. The fact that two of the 10 top women athletes in the world this year are Vermonters speaks volumes about our state. And it has inspired us to create our own Vermont Athletes of the Year awards. From now until Nov. 1 we will be taking nominations at VTSports.com and then asking you to vote for the men and women you think should be on our list. Tell us about the Vermont athletes of all ages who inspire you and have achieved remarkable accomplishments in the past 12 months. Choosing won’t be easy. Already, I can think of contenders we have profiled, such as international Skyrace champion and Burlington’s Queen City Marathon winner Kasie Enman, World Cup mountain biker Lea Davison, or record-breaking World Masters athlete Flo Meiler, age 81. For men, there’s snowboard star Jake Blauvelt, pro cyclist Ted King, National Collegiate cycling champ Brendan Rhim and ski racer Drew Duffy who came from behind to win the Super-G at the U.S. Na-

tionals this past spring. Selecting winners should not be just about counting up podium finishes. We hope you will consider other achievements by people such as Calvin Decker, 23, who this past August rode the length of Vermont by mountain bike off-road in just 38 hours. His story is on page 22. Send your nominations to editor@ vtsports.com. We’ll post the finalists at VTSports.com and then ask for your votes. —Lisa Lynn, Editor

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