COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., USA, August 18. FIVE swimmers have been named finalists for the United States Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2006. The induction ceremony is scheduled for December 8 at the Harris Theatre in Chicago and could include Hall of Fame entry for Rowdy Gaines, Mary T. Meagher, George Haines, John Morgan and the 1976 women’s Olympic 400 freestyle relay.
The five swimmers eligible for induction were selected by a nominating committee that consisted of athletes, Hall of Fame members, historians and representatives of the United States Olympic Committee. The public can lend a hand in the selection process through voting at www.usolympicteam.com. Voting started yesterday and will run through September 21.
In all sports, five individual Olympians will be inducted, along with one Olympic team, a Paralympian, a coach, a veteran and a special contributor. Over the years, 13 swimmers have been enshrined, including Matt Biondi and Janet Evans in 2004. The charter class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was inducted in 1983.
A member of the 1980 Olympic Team that boycotted the Moscow Games, Gaines won three gold medals during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, earning individual glory in the 100 freestyle. He was also on the winning 400 free and 400 medley relay units. As for Meagher, she was well ahead of her time in the 200 butterfly. A three-time Olympian, she won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and a bronze medal at the 1988 Games.
At the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, Morgan won each of the eight swimming events in which he participated and still holds seven world records. Haines, meanwhile, is one of the greatest coaches in history and served seven stints at the Olympic helm, guiding his swimmers to 68 medals, including 44 gold. The 400 free relay from the 1976 Olympics in Montreal pulled off a major upset, thanks to the efforts of Kim Peyton, Wendy Boglioli, Jill Sterkel and Shirley Babashoff.
Here is a breakdown of the nominees for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Individual Finalists (Five to be inducted)
Evelyn Ashford (Track & Field)
Greg Barton (Canoe/Kayak)
Bruce Baumgartner (Wrestling)
Joan Benoit (Track & Field)
Jeff Blatnick (Wrestling)
Brian Boitano (Figure Skating)
Valerie Brisco (Track & Field)
Rowdy Gaines (Swimming)
Bob Hayes (Track & Field)
Roger Kingdom (Track & Field)
Mary T. Meagher (Swimming)
Shannon Miller (Gymnastics)
Darrell Pace (Archery)
John Smith (Wrestling)
Kristi Yamaguchi (Figure Skating)
Team Finalists (One to be inducted)
1968 Men’s Track & Field 4x400m Relay
1976 Women’s Swimming 4x100m Freestyle Relay
1984 Men’s Gymnastics
1988 Women’s Track & Field 4x100m Relay
1988 Men’s Volleyball
Paralympian Finalists (One to be inducted)
Ross Davis (Track & Field)
Jean Driscoll (Track & Field)
Diana Golden-Brosnihan (Skiing)
John Morgan (Swimming)
Dennis Oehler (Track & Field)
Coach Finalists (One to be inducted)
Bill Bowerman (Track & Field)
Herb Brooks (Ice Hockey)
Carlo Fossi (Figure Skating)
George Haines (Swimming)
Ed Temple (Track & Field)