Sarah Will Elected to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- The fans have weighed in, the votes have been counted and the results are final. Today, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and Allstate Insurance Company (NYSE: ALL) announced the members of the Class of 2009 who will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate. The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame is the only national sports hall of fame that uses fan voting as part of its selection process. This year's class is comprised of five Olympians, one Paralympian, one team, as well as three additional individuals: a coach, veteran and a special contributor.
The star-studded inductee list includes Michael Johnson (athletics), Picabo Street (alpine skiing), Teresa Edwards (basketball), Willye White (athletics), Mary T. Meagher (swimming), Sarah Will (Paralympic alpine skiing), the 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team, longtime Men's Gymnastics coach Abie Grossfeld, skiing veteran Andrea Mead-Lawrence, and special contributor Peter Ueberroth . Amazingly, members of this talented group of athletes, teams and coaches have been a part of a combined 21 Olympic and Paralympic Games and brought home a total of 46 medals.
"Olympians are champions, role models and leaders that inspire us to pursue our passions," said Tom Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Allstate. "The Class of 2009 continues this tradition and embodies the commitment to excellence and drive to succeed. They make us proud to be Americans. Allstate is proud to honor them as members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame."
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2009 will be formally introduced and honored August 12 at a banquet-style induction ceremony at McCormick Place in Chicago. Through a partnership with Chicago 2016, the ceremony will also serve as a final fundraiser for the organizing committee's bid to bring the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to the city. The International Olympic Committee will announce the host city on October 2. The induction ceremony, hosted by Dan Hicks and Summer Sanders, will air in a nationally-televised broadcast on NBC on September 5 at 2 p.m. ET.
In addition, a new international award - the Olive Branch Achievement Award - will be introduced and presented at the Induction Ceremony. The award was created to honor an individual who best represents the international ideals of the Olympic Movement by working to build a peaceful and better world through sport. The Olive Branch Achievement Award recipient will be announced in the coming weeks.
"The USOC is very excited to honor this year's U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame legends who have inspired many generations in this country with their courage and thrilling Olympic performances," said USOC Acting Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Streeter. "Each of these Olympians is a worthy addition to the Hall of Fame and an overall symbol of the U.S. Olympic Movement. We're also pleased to continue to partner with Allstate, a company that shares our commitment to America's Olympians."
Nominees for the Class of 2009 were selected by a seven-person nominating committee consisting of Olympians, members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, an NGB executive director, and a USOC representative. Fan votes submitted at www.teamusa.org also played an important role in the selection process, with more than 112,000 votes cast during the voting period.
Tables and tickets for the induction ceremony may be purchased online at support.chicago2016.org/halloffame.
About the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2009 Induction Presented by Allstate:
Sarah Will, Paralympic Alpine Skiing
Sarah Will had her first run of the mountain at the age of four. From that moment on she was hooked on the sport. In 1988, the Olympic skiing hopeful was in a serious skiing accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. Rather than give up the sport she loved, she took up mono skiing and was back on the slopes just one year later. Four years after her start in the mono-ski, she competed in her first Paralympic Games, winning gold in downhill and super G in 1992 in Albertville, France.
Will won a total of 12 Paralympic gold medals and one silver medal throughout her four Paralympic experiences, making her the most decorated female mono skier in U.S. Ski Team history. In 2002, Will took the Paralympic alpine skiing gold medal sweep, winning all four races, along with the U.S. Paralympic Spirit Award.
Teresa Edwards, Basketball
Teresa Edwards is the most decorated Olympic basketball player in the world, male or female, with four gold medals and one bronze medal in five Olympic Games. She is the USA's only five-time Olympic basketball player and one of only three five-time Olympic basketball players (male or female) in the world. She is also one of only three U.S. Olympians to win gold in four different Olympic Games, joining former teammate Lisa Leslie and sprinter Carl Lewis. Only five other non-U.S. athletes have accomplished the feat.
Edwards played on the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Teams. Those teams combined to achieve a 31-1 record and the 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000 U.S. teams each went undefeated to claim Olympic gold. All told, Edwards was a member of 20 USA Basketball teams, including two World Championship gold medal teams, and overall, teams with Edwards as a member compiled a 189-13 win-loss record.
Michael Johnson, Athletics
Michael Johnson will forever be known as the golden man of track & field. Wearing his trademark golden Nike shoes, he oftentimes left the rest of the field in his dust with his upright running posture. Johnson won four Olympic medals - all gold - while competing in three Olympic Games. He made his Olympic debut at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games and was a part of the World Record-breaking 4x400-meter relay team. His signature moments came at the Atlanta Games, when he became the only man to accomplish the 200-400 double, winning both races with ease and breaking the World Record in the 200 meters. He defended his title in the 400 meters at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Johnson, a Baylor University graduate, won eight World Championship titles. His World Records in the 400 and the 4x400 relay still stand, and his 200 record of 19.32 held up for 12 years until Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke it at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Mary T. Meagher, Swimming
Mary T. Meagher, nicknamed "Madame Butterfly," won three gold medals in swimming at the 1984 Olympic Games, highlighting a decade of dominance that included World Record swims throughout the 1980s. She qualified and was expected to medal at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games but was unable to compete due to the U.S. boycott. She made her Olympic debut at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and won triple gold, taking both the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and swimming the butterfly leg on the 4x100 medley relay. At the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, she finished her Olympic career with silver in the 4x100 medley relay and a bronze in the 200 fly. Meagher was one of eight U.S. Olympians selected to carry the Olympic Flag into the Opening Ceremony of the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games
Her success was not limited to the Olympic stage. Meagher captured several medals at the World Championships in 1982 and 1986, including a pair of individual titles. She won 24 National Titles and she also owns two more golds apiece competing at the Pan American Games and the Pan Pacific Championships.
Picabo Street, Alpine Skiing
A three-time Olympian, Picabo Street first joined the U.S. Ski Team in 1989 and earned a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in ¬the downhill. The Sun Valley, Idaho, native left her mark in Olympic history in 1998, taking gold in the Nagano super G by a mere hundredth of a second.
Street medaled in three World Championships, earning combined silver in 1993, and super G bronze and downhill gold in 1996. Winning six of nine World Cup competitions in 1995, Street became the first American to win a World Cup season title in a speed event. After a leg injury and two years of rehabilitation, Street returned to compete in 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City before retiring. With nine career victories, she was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2005.
Willye White, Athletics
The first woman to compete for the U.S. Team in five Olympic Games, Willye White's Olympic career spanned 16 years, from 1956 to 1972. Specializing in the long jump and 100 meters, she earned a silver medal in long jump at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne at the age of 16, marking the first time an American woman medaled in the event. She won her second silver medal in 1964 as a member of the 4x100 meter relay team in Tokyo.
White was a member of more than 30 international and national track teams and won 12 Amateur Athletic Union long jump titles during her career. She set seven American records and won 13 national indoor and outdoor titles. She has been inducted into 11 sports hall of fames, including her 1981 induction into the USATF National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
White passed away in February 2007.
1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team
Simply put, the 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team dominated. In the first Olympic Games to allow NBA players, the Dream Team steamrolled the rest of the world on its way to gold. In eight games, they outscored opponents by an average margin of 44 points, including a 121-76 blowout of Lithuania in the semifinals. In the gold medal game, they faced a Croatian squad featuring a few fellow NBA names and culminated in a 117-85 victory.
The star-studded American roster was comprised of NBA player legends: Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton, and a legendary coaching staff consisting of the late Chuck Daly, and assistants P.J. Carlesimo, Mike Krzyzewski and Lenny Wilkens. How famous was the group? In addition to fans, players representing opposing teams from all over the world asked for the Americans' autographs and pictures before each tipoff.
Abie Grossfeld, Coach
Abie Grossfeld served as head coach for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team that earned eight medals, including the U.S. men's only Olympic team gold medal. He was also the head coach of the men's gymnastics team at the 1972 and 1988 Olympic Games, as well as assistant coach for the men's team in 1964 and the women's team in 1968. He was the personal coach of Peter Kormann, who became the first U.S. man to win an Olympic medal in 44 years with a bronze medal on floor exercise in 1976. Grossfeld also served as head coach for the U.S. men's gymnastics team at five World Championships and two Pan American Games, including the 1987 Pan Am Games when the men won the team gold medal. The U.S. national coach for men's gymnastics from 1981-88, Grossfeld coached the first U.S. men's team that defeated the USSR in 1982. He also served as a collegiate gymnastics head coach for 42 years, spending one year at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and 41 years at Southern Connecticut State University.
As an athlete, Grossfeld represented the USA internationally from 1952-67. He competed in two Olympic Games (1956, 1960), two World Championships (1958, 1962) and three Pan American Games (1955, 1959, 1963: the U.S. won the team gold all three years). At the University of Illinois, he won four NCAA titles and seven Big Ten Championships, as well as the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Additional honors include: National Coach of the Year for USA Gymnastics (1984) and the NCAA (1973, 1975 and 1976); USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame (as an athlete, coach and contributor); and the first and only American to achieve the status of FIG Master Coach (2000).
Andrea Mead-Lawrence, Veteran (Skiing)
Andrea Mead-Lawrence skied at three Olympic Winter Games, including the 1952 Oslo Games where she won gold medals in slalom and giant slalom. Before America became the skiing force it is today, she helped build the U.S. ski program from the ground up to compete with the traditional European powers. Mead-Lawrence became the youngest athlete to be chosen for the U.S. Women's Olympic Alpine Ski Team when, at age 14, she made the 1948 squad. In her Olympic debut, she finished eighth in the slalom at St. Moritz. Four years later, her double gold performance was lauded by Hall of Fame Olympic film producer Bud Greenspan, who called her his No. 1 Winter Olympian. She concluded her Olympic career in three races at the Cortina 1956 Olympic Winter Games, finishing fourth in the giant slalom. Mead-Lawrence, the only U.S. woman to win two skiing gold medals at one Olympic Winter Games succumbed to cancer on March 30, 2009 at age 76. She is survived by her five children and four grandchildren.
Peter Ueberroth, Special Contributor
Over the last three decades, Peter Ueberroth may have been the most influential figure to the Olympic Movement in the United States. From 1980-84, he was President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, heading the first private non-profit organization responsible for staging and operating an Olympic Games. Under Ueberroth's leadership, the Los Angeles Games came away with a surplus of $238 million that continues to support youth and sports programs throughout the United States. Ueberroth was the first Chair of the restructured USOC Board of Directors from 2004-08. He stabilized the leadership of the USOC during a turbulent time, and his leadership created momentum and credibility for the Olympic Movement in the United States. Olympic TV ratings shot up during his tenure, which ended with a record 110 U.S. Team medal tally at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Ueberroth continues to aid the USOC as President in an honorary capacity. He has received the Olympic Order-Gold from the International Olympic Committee, the IOC's highest honor.
For more information on the 2009 inductees, including bios and photos, and a comprehensive list of existing U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame members, please visit www.teamusa.org.
About the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
The charter class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was enshrined in 1983, with such Olympic legends as Cassius Clay, Peggy Fleming, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, and the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey Team. Annual additions continued through 1992, adding Olympic legends such as Bart Conner, Dorothy Hamill, "Sugar Ray" Leonard, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, and Mary Lou Retton.
In becoming the presenting sponsor of the induction ceremony, Allstate sparked the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame's revitalization in 2004. During the company's five-year tenure as a partner, the Hall of Fame has inducted numerous decorated Olympic athletes including: Bonnie Blair, Janet Evans, Florence Griffith Joyner, Dan Jansen, Kristi Yamaguchi, and the 1996 "Magnificent Seven" U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team. Following last June's induction of the Class of 2008, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame currently consists of 213 distinguished athletes and 13 special contributors.
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About the USOC
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.