COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, October 12. ROWDY Gaines, a two-time Olympian, will be a member of the 2006 class inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. Gaines’ selection for Hall of Fame honors was announced by the U.S. Olympic Committee. A familiar voice in the television announcing booth these days, Gaines will be enshrined on December 8 at the Harris Theatre in Chicago.
“To be included in this class of nominees is something dreams are made of. It’s an incredible honor and very humbling,” said Gaines, who currently serves as USA Swimming’s Chief Fundraising and Alumni Officer. “I’ve always considered the swimming family to be a small group, but I feel that way about the Olympic family as well. I really appreciate all of the support I’ve received from our swimming family throughout this process.”
Gaines will be joined as an inductee by track & field athletes Evelyn Ashford and Bob Hayes, gymnast Shannon Miller and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. The 1984 men’s gymnastics team, 1980 Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks and Paralympic skier Diana Golden-Brosnihan will also enter the Hall. Speedskater Jack Shea and special contributor Dick Ebersol will also be honored.
A standout in the collegiate ranks for Auburn University, Gaines was an Olympian in 1980 and 1984, although he was prevented from competing in Moscow due to the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Games. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Gaines won the 100 freestyle and helped the U.S. win the 400 free and 400 medley relays. Gaines is a 17-time national champion.
“Rowdy is our sport’s ambassador to the world,” said Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director of USA Swimming. “As an Olympian, his athletic achievements were awe inspiring and heroic. But even more meaningful to those of us in the swimming family, Rowdy Gaines is a world class human being. We could not ask for a better role model for our youth, a better All-American hero for our sport, and a better friend and colleague.”
Gaines joins 13 other swimmers who have been inducted in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame since the charter class of 1983. The most recent swimming inductees were Matt Biondi and Janet Evans in 2004.