Val Bialis brought Olympic glory to Utica in late 1920s, early 1930s
Feb 7, 5:45pm EST
The name Val Bialis may conjure up images of a sports center on the Parkway.
But there's a lot more to the name than that. He was also an Oneida County resident who competed in three Olympic games.
Bialis was born in Utica in 1903 and grew up on Kirkland Street on the city's west side. He grew up learning to skate at Watson Williams Park and competed in his first Olympic Games as a speed skater in 1924, when he was 21.
Bialis also competed in the 1928 and 1932 games and qualified for his fourth games in 1938, but was severely injured in an accident so he couldn't compete.
"Val Bialis has been on the Historical Society's Hall of Fame ballot for years," said Brian Howard of the Oneida County Historical Society. "But the ballots are counted and whoever the top five vote getters are, get inducted. Val Bialis is yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Maybe this year is his year."
The Oneida County Historical Society has also opened a file on Erin Hamlin, who is about to compete in her third Olympic games.
PHOTOS: History of the Winter Olympics: 1924-1968
Embedded owg_slideshow: History of the Winter Olympics: 1924-1968