Gretchen Burns

Gretchen Burns

Speedskating

Enshrined: 1992

Born: March 29, 1960

Syracuse, NY

While some athletes only excel at one sport, Gretchen Burns was a champion in two – speedskating and golf. Burns, one of 11 children, was a multi-sport standout at Bishop Ludden. But she also grew up competing in speedskating like her father and former champion Jack Byrne.

At the age of five, Burns won her first speedskating race. Later in her first national competition at age 11, she set a national record in the 440-yard race in 1972. She won the 1979 Women's National Outdoor Championships and was selected for the U.S. Speedskating Team.

As her skating career began to wind down, Burns’ golf career was beginning to take off. In 1989, she won two local majors: the Syracuse Women's District Golf Championship and the Babe Zaharias Tournament. Burns, who also coached speedskating, was the youngest hall of fame inductee at age 32.

Career highlights:

1964: Won the 5-and-under speedskating championship in Ohio.

1967: Victories in US Open Outdoor and International Silver Skating competition

1968-1979: Member of Syracuse Speedskating Club

1972: Set national record in Midget girls 440 (44.3 seconds)

1975: Set the Junior Girls 880 record at Lake Placid

1976-1978: Played basketball, golf and soccer at Bishop Ludden

1977: Syracuse Chamber of Commerce Female Athlete of the Year

1978: Italian America Athletic Club Athlete of the Year

1978: Won the NYS Amateur Women’s Golf Championship

1978-1980: Member of USA National Skating team, tried out for spot on Olympic team

1979: U.S. National speedskating champion in the senior women division (18 and over)

1980: Medalist in Syracuse District Golf Championship

1981: Co-medalist in State Women’s Championships

1981: Herald Journal’s Woman Golfer of the Year; Member of Oswego State’s Men’s Golf team

1982-1983: Coached soccer, basketball at Bishop Ludden.

1982: Member of American Cancer Society's National Championship team, four-time winner (1982, '96, '98, '00).

1983: Won Syracuse District 2-ball with Pat McCarthy

1986: Won District 2-ball with Julie Peck

1989: Won Babe Zaharias Tournament and SWDGA Championship

1992: Chairman of Babe Zaharias Cancer Golf Tournament

1994: President of the Northern New York Speedskating Association (also in 2001)

2002: Selected as U.S. Speedskating Development Coach of the Year

Coaching accomplishments: Coached 12 skaters, including three National Champions, earning over 30 medals at the Short Track Nationals.

 

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