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|One week remains to vote online for Smith, Baumgartner, Blatnick for U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
There is only one week remaining to vote online for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2006.
Three of the finalists are Olympic champion wrestlers, two-time Olympic freestyle champions John Smith and Bruce Baumgartner, as well as Olympic Greco-Roman champion Jeff Blatnick.
Voting ends on September 21. Don't wait. Vote today. Let your voice be heard.
Click here to vote for U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2006
Only one wrestler, Dan Gable, has been inducted in the Olympic Hall of Fame. Many in the wrestling community feel that this is not fair, as wrestlers have won 48 Olympic gold medals for the United States and have featured many of the greatest Olympic performances in American sports history.
Five individual Olympians, one Olympic team, one Paralympian and one coach, along with a veteran and a special contributor, will be honored during the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Presented by Allstate. The induction ceremony will take place December 8 in Chicago, Ill. at the Harris Theatre and will again feature an awards-style show.
Additionally, a nationally-televised special will air early in 2006 to enable sports fans across the United States to relive the moments that catapulted the Class of 2006 inductees to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame status. Broadcast details will be announced at a later date.
The Class of 2006 finalists in the individual sport/event, team, Paralympic and coaching 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 veteran and special contributor categories. Their names will be announced in October along with those of the other inductees.
Brief biographies of each of the finalists can also be found on the website.
U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2006 Finalists
Individual Finalists - Five (5) 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 (1) 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 (1) 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 (1) to be inducted
Bill Bowerman (Track & Field)
Herb Brooks (Ice Hockey)
Carlo Fossi (Figure Skating)
George Haines (Swimming)
Ed Temple (Track & Field)
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to celebrate the achievements of America's premier athletes in the modern Olympic Games. The first U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1983 during ceremonies in Chicago. That Charter Class, which included Olympic greats Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Muhammad Ali, remains the largest group (20 individuals and one team) ever inducted. In 2004, after a 12-year hiatus, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was revived through the support of the Allstate Insurance Company as the presenting sponsor.
To date, 182 athletes (including six U.S. teams) and special contributors to the U.S. Olympic Movement have been enshrined. From the Charter Class of 1983 to the 2004 inductees, Hall members represent an American honor roll of athletic ambassadors to the ideals of brotherhood and fair play. The current nominees - 15 individual Olympians, five Olympic teams, five individual Paralympians and five coaches - each continue that tradition.