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Riley family's $500-K donation covers most of Sports Hall of Fame

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Manitoba’s greatest athletes have some of their own to thank for the just-opened Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

The Riley family has donated $500,000, which covered off all but $100,000 of the $600,000 construction costs in the 3,000-square-foot facility.

Four family members spanning three generations have been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Sandy Riley, best known in business circles as the president and CEO of Richardson Financial Group, was inducted into the Hall in 2009. His sailing career included racing in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico. He was also chairman of the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg in 1999.

"The Hall of Fame is important because young people look up to their elders, they look up to people who have achieved something," said Sandy Riley. "It gives them the incentive to do it themselves.

"And this is in the Sport for Life building, and young people are going to be coming in and out of this building every day. It's very motivating."

The patriarch of the Riley family, Conrad -- Sandy’s grandfather -- was inducted into the Manitoba Hall in 1982. He is also a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He became a member of the Winnipeg Rowing Club in 1893 and went to the U.S. National Championships in 1902, where Winnipeg crews won both the intermediate and senior eights events.

One of Conrad Riley’s sons, Culver, was inducted as a builder into the Manitoba Hall of Fame in 1981. In addition to his own rowing career, he was president of the Winnipeg Football Club and president of the organizing committee for the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.

Another of Conrad Riley’s sons, Derek, rowed in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and was the chair of the rowing venue at the 1967 Pan Am Games. He was inducted into the Manitoba Hall in 2009.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Hall of Fame took place at 12:15. The official opening for the public is on Saturday.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM CDT: adds quote from Sandy Riley

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