Kemp inducted into FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame

By Gary Abbott | Aug. 29, 2008, 12:01 p.m. (ET)
BEIJING, CHINA - Three-time World freestyle champion Lee Kemp was formally inducted into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame at a banquet hosted at the Landmark Hotel at the conclusion of the wrestling competition at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Kemp was joined by his fellow Hall of Fame inductees, all legends in the sport. This year's class included women's freestyle wrestlers Xiu Zhong of China and Dong Feng Liu of China, men's freestyle star Hideaki Tomiyama of Japan and Greco-Roman legend Mikhail Mamiashvili of Russia.

Kemp was also in Beijing serving as an Olympic coach for the U.S. men's freestyle wrestling team.

Stan Dziedzic, FILA Bureau member from the United States, introduced each of the Hall of Fame inductees, who received their awards from FILA President Raphael Martinetti.

"I think it is awesome to be included with the other people inducted," said Kemp. "I know many of them personally, like Hideaki Tomiyama who was competing when I was an athlete. It is an honor to join John Smith, Bruce Baumgartner and Kevin Jackson, the other Americans who are inducted."

A large contingent from USA Wrestling also attended the banquet to support Kemp and honor him for his tremendous achievement, including USA Wrestling President Jim Ravannack, Executive Director Rich Bender, National Teams Director Mitch Hull as well as fellow Olympic coaches Kevin Jackson, Kerry McCoy, Terry Steiner and many others.

"I am expecially excited to have the support of the American team here, for the USA Wrestling contingent to share this with me," said Kemp. "It is also nice to have my girlfriend Miya here, and to share it with someone close to me."

Kemp will be inducted in the International Wrestling Hall of Fame display, located at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Musuem in Stillwater, Okla., along with all of the other Hall of Fame honorees. In addition, a special display honoring the Hall of Famers will be located at the FILA Headquarters in Switzerland.