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 usolympichalloffame.com 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 http://usocpressbox.org/