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Sports Backers Executive Director Jon Lugbill to be Inducted into Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Richmond, VA – In recognition of his incredible accomplishments in the sport of whitewater paddling and his innovative leadership in the active living and endurance events industry, Sports Backers Executive Director Jon Lugbill was recently honored as an inductee in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

The induction class was announced by the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on November 30, and the induction ceremony will take place in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on April 30, 2022. More information on the 2022 class is available here, and the section on Jon’s accomplishments is below:

  • Jon Lugbill: out of Oakton High School in Fairfax County, and the University of Virginia, is an international pioneer in the sport of whitewater canoeing. Considered the best paddler to ever compete in the sport, Lugbill is a 5-time World Champion in C1 Slalom, and 7-time Team World Champion. A 3-time World Cup Overall Gold Medalist, Lugbill has been recognized as USA Canoe Kayak’s Male Athlete of the Year (1989) and is the only paddler ever to appear on the Wheaties Box. Lugbill is a 2005 inductee into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Sports Backers in Richmond, VA.

In addition to Jon, the four-person class of 2022 also includes the following three individuals:

  • William ‘Sonny’ Allen – ODU Men’s Basketball Head Coach 1965-1975. 1975 NCAA D-II National Champions. Architect of modern-day fast break offense.
  • Anthony Poindexter – Lynchburg, VA/University of Virginia. All-ACC/All-American Safety for Virginia Football. No. 3 jersey retired by the University of Virginia.
  • Chris Warren – Fairfax, VA/Ferrum College. 11 NFL seasons. 3x Pro-Bowl selection. 9,631 yards from scrimmage and 58 total touchdowns scored.

Jon joined Sports Backers as Executive Director in 1993 and his leadership has helped drive the constant growth and evolution of the organization. In that time, it has become a national leader in active living and event management, working towards its nonprofit mission of inspiring active living for all residents of the Richmond region and beyond. Sports Backers is the only four-time winner of the Sports Event and Tourism Association (SportsETA) ‘Sports Commission of the Year’ Award, earning the honor in 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2015.

Annual events like the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, Richmond Marathon, and Dominion Energy Riverrock serve as celebrations of active living in Richmond, earning national recognition and encouraging residents and visitors to stay physically active throughout the year. Sports Backers training teams emphasize the group approach to training, with enthusiastic coaches helping thousands of participants achieve their race-day goals each year. Programs like Kids Run RVA, Fitness Warriors, and Bike Walk RVA lay the daily groundwork of providing physical activity opportunities for residents of all ages, ability levels, and backgrounds, in all corners of the Richmond region.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jon’s vision helped Sports Backers continue to function in the new landscape. During the pandemic, Sports Backers has created over 25 new events and programs and further modified another 15 to exist in hybrid formats, with a goal of continuing to provide active living for all and enabling residents to take advantage of the physical and mental health benefits of an active lifestyle. This has carried Sports Backers into a return of events in their traditional format in fall of 2021 and provides momentum heading into 2022.

Jon’s international achievements in whitewater paddling and dedication to inspiring active living through the work of Sports Backers means his induction into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2022 is a well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Jon!




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