Meet the 2019 Hall of Fame Finalists

Team Ballot Bios

1996 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team

OLYMPIC GAMES
1996 - Basketball, Gold

TEAM MEMBERS
Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding, Sheryl Swoopes

TOP 3 ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS
1. The 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team defeated eight straight teams by 28.6 points per game (ppg) and averaged 102.4 ppg.
2. To claim the Olympic gold medal, Team USA: drew a record 202,556 fans during the Olympics, averaged 25,320 fans per game and won the gold medal in front of record 32,987 spectators; set five U.S. women’s Olympic basketball records, including single-game field goal percentage (66.2 percent in the gold medal game) and single-competition record for points (819), points averaged (102.4) and free throws made (142) and attempted (212).
3. Finished the 1996 Games with an undefeated, 8-0 Olympic record. During the entire 1996 season, the team went 52-0 in international competition.

TOP 3 REASONS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Olympic fans turned out in unprecedented numbers to support the team, and the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team was critical in popularizing women’s basketball, which helped lead to the creation of two professional leagues, the ABL (American Basketball League) and WNBA (Women’s National Basketball League).
2. The U.S. won each of its eight contests at the 1996 Games by large margins and in crowd-pleasing style.
3. The 1996 gold medal helped restore the U.S.’s place at the top of the podium after bronze medal finishes at the 1992 Olympics and 1994 FIBA World Cup.

BACKGROUND
Assembling the first and only resident national team program in USA Basketball history, the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team compiled a remarkable 52-0 record over a 10-month training period which saw the team travel to seven countries, logging more than 100,000 miles. Following nearly a year of training, the team went on to dominate its competition and claim Olympic gold at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Led by head coach Tara VanDerveer, team members Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding and Sheryl Swoopes rolled to an undefeated 8-0 Olympic record. Bettering Olympic opponents by 28.6 points per contest, Team USA’s closest game was a 15-point win. More popular than any previous women's basketball team, the U.S. drew a record 202,556 fans during the Games for an average of 25,320 per game. The team’s popularity is credited for helping to spawn two women’s professional basketball leagues in America. The 1996 team still owns three U.S. Olympic women’s basketball single-game records, including field goals made (47), field goal percentage (.662) and assists (30), as well as seven team competition records, including points (819), points averaged (102.4), field goals made (322), field goal percentage (.572), free throws made (142), free throws attempted (212) and assists (207).
 

1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Hockey Team

OLYMPIC GAMES
1998 - Ice Hockey, Gold

TEAM MEMBERS
Chris Bailey, Laurie Baker, Alana Blahoski, Lisa Brown-Miller, Karyn Bye, Colleen Coyne, Sara DeCosta, Tricia Dunn, Cammi Granato, Katie King, Shelley Looney, Sue Merz, A.J. Mleczko, Tara Mounsey, Vicki Movsessian, Angela Ruggiero, Jenny Schmidgall, Sarah Tueting, Gretchen Ulion, Sandra Whyte

TOP 3 ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS
1. Won the first-ever Olympic gold medal awarded in women's ice hockey, while entering the Games as a significant underdog according to most experts.
2. Inspired thousands of American girls and women to play ice hockey, from just more than 28,000 prior to the 1998 Olympics to some 80,000 today.
3. Enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009

TOP 3 REASONS FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Team USA crafted the signature moment of the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998, earning the first gold medal awarded in women's ice hockey. The team defied the odds and beat Canada twice -- both in the preliminary round and in the gold-medal game.
2. The inspirational story of the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team helped fuel the growth of the sport, particularly with girls and women. Their visibility, including a prized spot on the front of a Wheaties Cereal Box, was a driving factor in the more than 80,000 girls and women that play the game today in the U.S., a number that just exceeded 28,000 prior to the 1998 Games.
3. They were and will always be the first, and so many great stories from this team have followed its gold-medal victory, including: A.J. Mleczko being part of NBC's broadcast team for the last four Olympic Winter Games and in 2018 becoming the first female analyst ever for an NHL Stanley Cup playoff game on network television .... Cammi Granato (with Angela James) becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame ... Katie King building a national powerhouse as head women's ice hockey coach at Boston College ... Angela Ruggiero becoming CEO and co-founder of Sport Innovation Lab and lauded by Forbes as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports.

BACKGROUND
The 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team emerged with a gold medal that had a tremendous impact on the growth of girls’ and women’s hockey in the United States. Team USA cruised through preliminary play in Nagano, Japan, posting an undefeated 5-0-0-0 record and outscoring opponents, 33-7. Despite Canada’s victories at the previous four International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships, the U.S. defeated the Canadians for the second time in the tournament in the gold-medal game, 3-1, to cap off an undefeated run (6-0-0-0) en route to the first gold medal presented in women’s ice hockey at an Olympic Winter Games. Cammi Granato, a 2008 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee, Karyn Bye, Katie King and Gretchen Ulion, co-led the U.S. with eight points each, while netminders Sarah Tueting and Sara DeCosta split time in goal, each winning three games. For its efforts, the team was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. This team captured the imaginations of American fans with their performance in Nagano and became the story of the 1998 Games in our country and abroad. Their inspirational story helped fuel the imaginations of young girls (and boys) throughout America, including Meghan Duggan, captain of the 2018 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team.
 

2010 U.S. Olympic Men's 4-Man Bobsled Team

OLYMPIC GAMES
2010 - Bobsled, Gold

TEAM MEMBERS
Steven Holcomb, Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen, Curt Tomasevicz

TOP 3 ATHLETIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS
1. The team ended a 62-year medal drought by bringing home the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in four-man bobsled since 1948.
2. Won the overall four-man bobsled World Cup title in the 2010 season leading up to Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010.
3. Won the 2009 world championship four-man bobsled gold, the first U.S. team to win a world championship since 1959.

TOP 3 REASONS FOR INDUCTION
1. The four-man team, led by Holcomb, became the winningest team in U.S. bobsled history. They broke several records together and dominated international competition, including wins at the world cup, world championship and 2010 Winter Games.
2. Holcomb almost retired in 2007 after consulting with 12 surgeons and receiving the grim prognosis that a cornea transplant was only option for his keratonconus, an eye disease which weakens the collagen cross fibers within the cornea. His team didn't give up on him. They helped find Dr. Boxer Wachler, who performed a non-surgical C3-R treatment, save his sight. This camaraderie not only created lasting friendships but led to the achievements they had together as a team.
3. These four athletes are the epitome of persistence, dedication, teamwork, friendship, strength and courage. They embody the Olympic ideals.

BACKGROUND
When you talk about bobsled, you talk about the "Night Train" team of Holcomb, Olsen, Mesler and Tomasevicz. They rose to the top of their sport, knocking the Germans from their stronghold of bobsled titles and medals. They broke onto the international scene with a gold-medal performance at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010, ending a 62-year medal drought. It was also the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in four-man bobsled since 1948. The team also won the world championship title in 2009 and the overall world cup title in 2010. Even though they were the best in the world, they weren't complacent. They continually worked on developing new sled technology, helped teammates with lines and equipment, and engaged with sponsors, fans and volunteers. They became the ideal of what a bobsled team should be, and they paved a path for the U.S. program, leaving a lasting legacy.