The National Sailing Hall of Fame has named US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics Paralympic Coach Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.) to its inaugural class of inductees. Alison is one of 15 American sailors noted for their significant impact on the development of the sport including Gary Jobson, Ted Hood, Dennis Conner and Lowell North.
“I am both honored and thrilled to have been selected to the inaugural group of inductees for the National Sailing Hall of Fame,” said Alison. “To be among such incredible sailors is quite amazing. I never would have dreamed that this is where I would find myself as I started down the sailing path as a young girl. To be honored in such a way is a true testament to the tenet that if you are going to do something be it in sport, work or life, do it well and with no regrets!”
Alison began sailing at the age of seven at the Metedeconk River Yacht Club, in New Jersey, and quickly fell in love with the sport. By the time she arrived at Tufts University and joined the sailing team, her natural talent was clear and she was named an All-American Honorable Mention. She also holds a number of national and international championship titles including: five-time US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, three-time U.S. Women’s Nationals, three-time U.S. Women’s Singlehanded Nationals, ISAF Women’s Match Racing Worlds, Yngling Worlds, Laser Women’s Worlds and Lightning Nationals. Throughout almost two decades of accomplishments, she was honored five times as US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year (’98, ’93, ’84, ’82, ’81), the sport’s highest award.
“There are many highlights in my sailing career over a broad spectrum of time: being selected Rolex Yachtswoman of the year five times is one, especially when those individual awards were based on achievements in many kinds of boats and many different disciplines,” she said. “The fact that I have had success in dinghies (Lasers, Lightnings, etc), keelboats (J/24s, J/22s, Ynglings, etc) as well as in both fleet and match racing makes me proud of the various accomplishments and successes achieved in all of those areas. I have always tried to be a multidimensional sailor, having both helmed and crewed for many programs. I certainly like to see myself as a team player and recognize that many of my successes have been achieved with teammates that I have an exceptional amount of respect for!”
Alison began to coach the U.S. Disabled Sailing Team, in 1998, the door had opened on the next phase of her already illustrious career. She has been selected twice by the US Olympic Committee as the US Amateur Athlete in Sailing, and named 1999 Coach of the Year in Sailing by the United States Olympic Committee for her work with disabled, youth and women sailors. She served as a coach for the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games at which the USA brought home five medals in five disciplines.
“I am also very proud of the fact that I was honored by the Pierre de Coubertin International Committee for Fair Play in 2004,” she added. “I have always chosen not to dwell on past successes but rather on what is around the next bend or corner. My work with the athletes from the USA who are trying to, have and will represent our country in the Paralympic Games is my vocation and I hope that I can impart some of what I have learned from my own experiences to enable these sailors to go on to become the best that they can, and stand proud of their own accomplishments.”
A ceremony will be held at the San Diego Yacht Club in October to formally induct Alison along with the entire inaugural class. Based in Annapolis, Md., the National Sailing Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of the sport of sailing. For more information about the National Sailing Hall of Fame or the inaugural induction class: http://www.nshof.org/
About US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top athletes in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken Team McLube, Trinity Yachts, New England Ropes, Group Experiential Learning and Bow Down Training. http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.