In a career spanning more than four decades, Tom Kelly has been recognized as a leading spokesperson for skiing, devoting his life to informing and educating as a communicator and inspirational speaker. He has a long a diverse career in the sport. Kelly began as a news and sports photographer and editor for newspapers in Wisconsin. He worked for a midwestern ski area, Telemark, that was small in size but big in vision. Together with friend Peter Graves he founded Worldwide Nordic USA, a travel company that introduced hundreds of cross country skiers to new worlds. Most notably, he served U.S. Ski & Snowboard for 32 years as vice president, communications. He has been active within the U.S. Olympic Committee and International Ski Federation, including 14-year chairman of the FIS PR and Mass Media Committee. He has been a devotee to the history of the sport with leadership roles within the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame, Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation and others.
As VP of communications for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Kelly worked tirelessly to promote the athletes and their sports to the mass media. Throughout his career, he was active within the USOC and International Ski Federation, including 14 years as chairman of the FIS PR and Mass Media Committee.
Kelly was the final speaker of the evening, and delivered an emotional and passion-filled acceptance speech recounting Olympic, World Championship and World Cup memories from his 32 years with the organization, culminating with the most poignant memory of his career - Olympic gold by Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) - who teamed up to win the first gold medal for the United States in cross country skiing at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"I've been fortunate in my career to work with some remarkable athletes and to engage others by telling their story,” Kelly said. “Skiing has been a passion of mine since I was seven years old and it is an honor to be included in the Hall of Fame."