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U.S. Olympic Committee Names 2008 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Finalists

May 29, 2008, 6:19 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee today announced the finalists for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008 and invites the public to vote online at to help determine who will comprise the next class of inductees.  Six individual Olympians, one Olympic team and one Paralympian, along with a coach, a veteran and a special contributor, will be honored during the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Presented by Allstate.  The awards-show style ceremony will take place at 7:00 p.m. on June 19 at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater in Chicago, Ill. Additionally, a nationally-televised special will enable sports fans across the United States to re-live the moments that catapulted the Class of 2008 inductees to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame status.  Additional information regarding the telecast of the induction ceremony will be released at a later date.


Envisioned as a lasting tribute to the pursuit of excellence and the Olympic ideals, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was established to celebrate the achievements of America's premier athletes in the modern Olympic Games.


"The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a celebration of the unique spirit and heritage of the Olympic movement in America," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr.  "We appreciate the support of Allstate Insurance Company for their continued support of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and their commitment to honoring the accomplishments of America's Olympic greats and, in doing so, preserving the Olympic ideals."


In 2008, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will once again be held in Chicago where the charter class was enshrined in 1983, with such Olympic legends as Beamon, Cassius Clay, Peggy Fleming, Al Oerter, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Hockey Team.  Annual additions continued through 1992, adding Olympic legends such as Conner, Donna de Varona, Dorothy Hamill, "Sugar Ray" Leonard, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, Phil Mahre, Meyer, John Naber and Mary Lou Retton.  Corporate support from presenting sponsor Allstate sparked the Hall's revitalization in 2004. The Hall of Fame consists of 192 Distinguished Members, including 84 athletes from individual sports, seven teams and 12 special contributors. 


"Allstate is committed to celebrating and protecting the heritage and tradition of our U.S. Olympians and Paralympians," said Lisa Cochrane, vice president of marketing at Allstate.  "Our partnership with the USOC and our sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame is a perfect way for us to honor the legacies of our country's greatest athletes, while supporting today's Olympians and Paralympians as they strive to deliver the next memorable performances in Beijing, and in future Games."


The Class of 2008 finalists in the individual sport/event, team and Paralympic categories were selected by a nominating committee consisting of athletes, members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, historians and USOC representatives.  The committee also selected the individuals to be honored in the coach, veteran and special contributor categories.  Their names will be announced with the other inductees.


Public voting at continues through Friday, March 28.  Brief biographies of each of the finalists are attached.


In addition to Allstate's role as presenting sponsor for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, AT&T and Kleenex will serve as supporting sponsors for the event.



U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008 Finalists


Individual Finalists - Six (6) to be inducted

Greg Barton, Canoe/Kayak

Bruce Baumgartner, Wrestling, freestyle

Joan Benoit, Track & Field

Jeff Blatnick, Wrestling

Brian Boitano, Figure Skating

Valerie Brisco, Track & Field

Oscar de la Hoya, Boxing

Teresa Edwards, Basketball

Karch Kiraly, Volleyball

Mary T. Meagher, Swimming

Sheila Young Ochowicz, Speedskating

Darrell Pace, Archery

J. Michael Plumb, Equestrian

David Robinson, Basketball

John Smith, Wrestling

Amy Van Dyken, Swimming

Peter Westbrook, Fencing

Lones Wigger, Shooting


Teams - One (1) to be inducted

1976 Women's Swimming 4x100 Freestyle Relay

1992 Men's Basketball Team

1996 Synchronized Swimming Team

1996 Women's Gymnastics Team

1998 Women's Ice Hockey Team


Paralympians - One (1) to be inducted

Ross Davis, Track & Field

Jean Driscoll, Track & Field

Sharon Hedrick, Track & Field

Jim Mastro, Judo/Wrestling/Track & Field/Goalball

John Morgan, Swimming



For more information, please contact the USOC Media and Public Relations Division (719/866-4529).  This release also is available on the USOC's media-specific web site