Beckie Scott to speak at Community Sports Awards banquet

North America’s most decorated cross-country skier has agreed to be the guest speaker at the 23rd Annual Red Deer Community Sports Awards Feb. 24 at the Sheraton Events Centre.

North America’s most decorated cross-country skier has agreed to be the guest speaker at the 23rd Annual Red Deer Community Sports Awards Feb. 24 at the Sheraton Events Centre.

Vermilion native and Canmore resident Beckie Scott retired from competitive ski racing in 2006 but not before winning an Olympic gold medal in 2002 at Salt Lake City and a silver — with teammate Sara Renner — in the 2006 Torino Games.

She became the first Canadian and North American female cross-country skier to win an Olympic medal when she cashed in at Salt Lake City.

Scott capped her stellar career by finishing second overall on the World Cup tour in 2005-06 and finished with four World Cup wins and 17 medals.

Scott is currently a member of the World Anti-Doping agency and sits as an executive board member with the Canadian Olympic Committee. She has also been involved with numerous charitable organizations.

“Beckie is a very exciting and captivating speaker,” said Mike Klass, executive director of the Alberta Sport Development Centre, which in conjunction with the Red Deer Primary Care Network and City of Red Deer, is staging the Community Sports Awards dinner and presentations.

Nominations opened Monday and can be by completed by visiting the City website at reddeer.ca and leaving the names of worthy athletes, teams and athletes in numerous categories for the 2012 calendar year.

“The headline should read, nominate, nominate, nominate,” said Klass. “In all the categories we strive to celebrate athletes and teams, but we can only celebrate the people we know about and that comes from the nomination process.

“Share the message about the people who need to be honoured, whether it’s in an under-12 category or someone who’s with a national team. Spread the word.”

Klass pointed out the need for volunteers to be recognized.

“The biggest thing is sport is largely volunteer-driven and it’s probably one of the biggest volunteer sectors there is in Central Alberta and across the country,” he said.

“Those are the people who should be celebrated.”

Nominations close Jan. 21 at 10 a.m.

To be eligible for an award, the athlete must be a resident of Red Deer or Red Deer Country, or currently competing for a team or club in Red Deer.

Klass added that last year’s award winners represented a large cross-section of sports.

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