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Chandler speaks to Lions about Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

In this Olympic year, the Greenville Lions Club got a visit from a gold-medal winner on Monday as Jennifer Chandler discussed her experiences, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and the upcoming Championship Team Golf Tournament.

Chandler is a native of Langdale, Ala., and she won a gold medal in the three-meter springboard at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

“On the gold medal stand in Montreal with the American flag in the middle, I realized that it was for me,” she said. “I have never been more proud to be from the USA.”

Chandler said she received mail from all over the country, but particularly from Alabama.

She also talked about how the state has produced a large number of world-class athletes.

“A couple of years ago, ESPN released a list of the top 100 athletes of all time, and five of the top 15 were from Alabama,” said Chandler, who added that the athleticism extended to the recent Olympic Games. “If Alabama was a country, we would have been 15th in the medal count.”

Now she works for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, where she spends much of her time talking to elementary and middle school students who come on field trips.

“We have an outreach program that provides a free field trip,” Chandler said. “We have World Series trophies, Super Bowl trophies and Heisman Trophies. We encourage students to be inspired by the inductees, who overcame obstacles in their life.”

Athletes such as Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Willie Mays and Bart Starr are enshrined in the ASHOF.

“We encourage the students to find their gift, set goals and don’t be afraid to dream big,” Chandler said.

One way the ASHOF is able to support the outreach program is through the Championship Team Golf Tournament.

Last year was the first year of the event, which was billed as the “World’s Largest Shotgun Start Golf Event,” spanning 1,052 golfers across Alabama on every site of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

“We really had a lot of fun and fellowship,” Chandler said.

Cambrian Ridge got a visit from inductee Bobby Humphrey at last year’s tournament.

This year’s event is set for Monday, Oct. 6, and registration is still open.

The cost is $175 per player or $700 per team.

Sponsorships are also available.

For more information, visit www.ashof.org.