Holly Brooks is a name many Alaska children may recognize.
They likely heard her voice telling jokes or sharing messages about the benefits of physical activity and the Healthy Futures Challenge during morning announcements at school.
Or they may have seen the Olympic cross country skier on TV in a Play Every Day public service announcement.
Or maybe she has even visited their school to speak to students about healthy activity choices and choosing milk or water instead of sugary drinks.
Brooks is a big name in Alaska sports, and she just received one more honor. Brooks will soon be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
When considering candidates, the selection panel considers how much pride an individual brings to Alaskans, said Harlow Robinson, executive director of Healthy Futures and the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
“Holly is a great example of an Alaskan we can all be proud of,” Robinson said.
Brooks is a former member of the United States Ski Team. She earned seven top-10 finishes in World Cup races and two national championship wins. She skied in two Olympic Winter Games. In 2013, Brooks helped the U.S. team win a World Cup relay medal. Brooks has also won the 50K Tour of Anchorage and 55K American Birkebeiner marathon races, along with several prestigious in-state mountain races including Mount Marathon, Bird Ridge, and Lost Lake.
Brooks said she is honored and humbled to be named to the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
“I think it is really important for kids to be introduced to healthy role models and people they can look up to, and it’s amazing to be identified as one of those role models for the state,” she said.
Brooks has been a spokesperson for Healthy Futures and the Play Every Day campaign since the earliest days of her professional career. She said the opportunity these programs have provided to meet thousands of kids and share positive messages with them has been one of the highlights of her career.
“Probably one of my favorite parts about being a professional athlete is the platform you get to speak from as an Olympian,” she said. “I love going into the schools and meeting the kids. Not every kid is exposed to healthy activity and lifestyle choices at home, so being able to be that person in a kid’s life is really special.”
Robinson said that passion is one of the reasons Brooks was selected for the award.
“Her dedication to giving back to the community speaks to the kind of person Holly is, and illustrates the positive impact she's had in Alaska,” he said. “Holly has been a tremendous spokesperson.”