Roger Kingdom competes during the men's 110-meter hurdles final at the Olympic Games Seoul 1988 on Sept. 28, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
During his lengthy career, Roger Kingdom had an uncanny ability to clear hurdles — both literally and figuratively.
Kingdom overcame more than his share of obstacles to win a pair of Olympic gold medals, set the world record in the 110-meter hurdles and earn a Super Bowl ring.
In recognition of his many accomplishments, Kingdom will be inducted to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, Class of 2022, in a ceremony June 24 at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He and the late, great alpine skier Gretchen Fraser will enter the hall in the “Legends” category.
“The USOPC induction, to me, means a great deal because you spent most of your life chasing Olympic glory, and when you spend most of your life chasing the Olympic glory, for your accomplishments to be recognized as being something that was spectacular is amazing,” Kingdom said. “It’s amazing for them to now select you for this particular honor. I think it’s the highest honor that an amateur athlete or a track and field athlete can receive.”
Kingdom has been selected for other halls of fame, including USA Track and Field’s in 2005.
“Each one of them is exciting, because (of) the time frame that goes between them,” said the 59-year-old from Orlando. “It’s not like they all happen all at the same time.
“All of a sudden, you’re reminded, by getting selected into a hall of fame, of your accomplishments. Just when now people start to forget, it’s brought to the light again by this selection. That’s why each one of them is such an honor.”
Kingdom became only the second athlete to win consecutive Olympic 110 hurdles titles when he won in 1984 in Los Angeles and 1988 in Seoul. Neither came without adversity. In 1984, he had pulled a hamstring just prior to the Opening Ceremony.
“I didn’t think that I would have a chance to run,” Kingdom recalled. “And I kept it hidden because I didn’t want them to put the alternate, Milan Stewart, in there in my place because I was a young guy and a newcomer, and nobody knew anything about me.
“I managed to overcome all of those obstacles, run the race and won every race that I ran (at the Olympics) that year.”
Kingdom tied the Olympic record in the semifinals and broke the record in the finals to take home the gold medal.
“I tell everybody there was a blessing on my life in that race because a presence touched me midway in that race that I never, ever felt again,” Kingdom said. “That’s when I caught Greg (Foster, the silver medalist also from Team USA).”