COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. ET Sunday, August 3, sports fans across the United States can celebrate the achievements of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008, presented by Allstate. NBC, home of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and broadcast partner of the United States Olympic Committee, will present the made-for-television national telecast. Jim Lampley, who will cover his fourteenth Olympic Games this summer, returns as master of ceremonies for the 90-minute program.
This year's individual inductees are wrestler Bruce Baumgartner, marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson, figure skater Brian Boitano, volleyball player Karch Kiraly, boxer Oscar De La Hoya, equestrian J. Michael Plumb, Paralympic swimmer John Morgan, basketball player David Robinson, swimmer Amy Van Dyken andshooter Lones Wigger, Jr. Figure skating coach Carlo Fassi was inducted posthumously in the Coach category and Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol Heiss Jenkins was inducted in the Veteran category. The members of the 1996 Women's Gymnastics Team, Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug, were honored in the Team category, while legendary Hollywood producer Frank Marshall was recognized as the Special Contributor.
Highlights of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, for which Kleenex and AT&T were associate sponsors, include:
- A reunion of the "Magnificent Seven" 1996 Women's Gymnastics Team
- Kristi Yamaguchi's heartfelt introduction of her childhood hero, Brian Boitano, and their impromptu "dance" off stage
- Summer Sanders' warm backstage interview with wrestler Bruce Baumgartner
"The legacies and contributions of this year's inductees will now live forever as they join our country's greatest Olympians in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame," said Lisa Cochrane, vice president of marketing at Allstate. "As a sponsor of the Hall of Fame since its celebrated revitalization in 2004, Allstate is proud to help protect and preserve this important part of our identity and source of American pride."
Many distinguished members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame attended the induction ceremony to introduce the Class of 2008 honorees. Among those serving as presenters were figure skaters Dick Button, Peggy Fleming and Kristi Yamaguchi; gymnast Bart Connor; track & field's Carl Lewis and the last U.S. male marathoner to win an Olympic gold medal, Frank Shorter.
Other presenters included Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Maker (Amy Van Dyken); USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr (Bruce Baumgartner); IOC member and USOC VP, International Bob Ctvrtlik (Karch Kiraly); U.S. Equestrian Federation President David O'Connor (J. Michael Plumb); Captain Ron Wigger (Lones Wigger, Jr.); CEO of 24 Hour Fitness Carl Liebert and 1996 U.S. Olympic Basketball Coach Lenny Wilkens (David Robinson); and Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan (John Morgan).
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to celebrate the achievements of America's premier athletes in the modern Olympic Games. The first U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1983 during ceremonies in Chicago. That Charter Class, which included Olympic greats Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Muhammad Ali, remains the largest group (20 individuals and one team) ever inducted. In 2004, after a 12-year hiatus, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was revived through the support of Allstate Insurance Company as the presenting sponsor. This year, Allstate is again the presenting sponsor for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, with second-year associate sponsors Kleenex and AT&T. With the addition of the Class of 2008, 213 athletes (including seven U.S. teams), two coaches, and 13 special contributors to the U.S. Olympic Movement have been enshrined in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
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