Articles: Press Release
J. Michael Plumb to be First Equestrian Inducted into the U.S. Olympic
Hall of Fame
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2008
By USOC Media and Public Relations Division
Chicago, Ill. - Karch Kiraly, three-time U.S. Olympian in volleyball
(1984, 1988 and 1996) and three-time gold medalist, leads the
distinguished Class of 2008 that will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic
Hall of Fame Presented by Allstate. The induction ceremony will take
place June 19 in Chicago. The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008 is
comprised of nine Olympians, one Paralympian, an Olympic Coach, Veteran,
Team and Special Contributor.
Wrestler Bruce Baumgartner, athletics athlete Joan Benoit, figure skater
Brian Boitano, boxer Oscar de La Hoya, equestrian J. Michael Plumb,
basketball athlete David Robinson, swimmer Amy Van Dyken, shooter Lones
W. Wigger, Jr. and Paralympic swimmer John Morgan will be inducted as
individuals. Figure skating coach Carlo Fassi will be inducted in the
Coach category along with Olympic figure skating gold medalist Carol
Heiss Jenkins in the Veteran category. The members of the 1996 Women's
Gymnastics Team - Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon
Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug - will also be
honored in the Team category, as will legendary Hollywood producer Frank
Marshall as the Special Contributor.
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by Allstate,
an awards-show style ceremony for which Kleenex and AT&T are associate
sponsors, will air in a nationally-televised broadcast this summer.
Viewers of the induction ceremony will be treated to a compelling
broadcast which will relive the moments that catapulted the Class of
2008 to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame status. Additionally, viewers will
enjoy inspiring stories and insights from the inductees as well as from
family, friends and fellow competitors of the honored legends.
"The legacies and contributions of this year's honorees will now live
forever as they join our country's greatest Olympians in the U.S.
Olympic Hall of Fame," said Lisa Cochrane, vice president of marketing
at Allstate. "As a sponsor of the Hall of Fame since its celebrated
revitalization in 2004, Allstate is proud to help protect and preserve
this important part of our identity and source of American pride."
Beginning today, tickets to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction
Ceremony can be purchased at www.usolympichalloffame.com
About the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008
Bruce Baumgartner is one of only eight U.S. Olympians to win medals in
four different Olympiads. He won his first gold medal in wrestling at
the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He went on to win a silver medal
in 1988 and a gold medal in 1992. At the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games
in Atlanta, Baumgartner was elected U.S. flag bearer and U.S. Olympic
Team captain. In his last Olympic Games, Baumgartner won a bronze medal.
In 2002, he was selected as a Distinguished Member of the National
Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Joan Benoit paved her own path in 1984 at the first women's marathon
event of the Olympic Games. Despite a knee injury 17 days before at the
Olympic Trials, Benoit triumphed in front of the pack to bring home the
first gold medal in the event. Benoit won the Boston Marathon three
times and held an American record in marathon from 1985 to 2003. She
also won the Falmouth Road Race six times (1976, 1978, 1981-1983, and
1985) breaking records on four of those occasions. In 1985, despite
struggles, Benoit won the Chicago Marathon and received the James E.
Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.
Brian Boitano, a three-time Olympian (1984, 1988 and 1994), four-time
U.S. champion and two-time world champion, was the first American to
land a triple Axel in competition In 1988, during the "Battle of the
Brians" at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Boitano entered the free
skate in an essential tie with Canadian Brian Orser. Boitano skated a
clean program landing eight triple jumps en route to Olympic gold. In
1988, Boitano won gold at the U.S. Championships, Olympic Games and
World Championships. He set a record when he earned nine perfect marks
of 6.0 at the U.S. Championships, ensuring his fourth consecutive win at
In 1992, Oscar de La Hoya captured the lone gold medal for U.S. boxers
winning the lightweight title defeating Marco Rudolph, the fighter who
had defeated him a year earlier at the World Championships in Australia.
Nicknamed the "Golden Boy," de la Hoya was victorious at two U.S.
Championships (1990 and 1991), the 1991 Goodwill Games and U.S. Olympic
Festival as well as the 1992 World Championship Challenge. His amateur
career included 223 wins, 163 by way of knockout, with only five losses.
On his 19th birthday, de la Hoya made his professional boxing debut. In
1995, he was named Ring Magazine's "Fighter of the Year" and in 1997 he
was named the publication's top-rated Pound for Pound fighter in the
world. He has won six world titles as a professional boxer.
Named the "greatest volleyball player of the century" by FIVB, the
international volleyball federation, Karch Kiraly is the only player to
win Olympic medals in both indoor and beach volleyball. As a member of
Team USA, Kiraly took Olympic gold in indoor volleyball in 1984 and
1988. He also captured Olympic gold with partner Kent Steffes in 1996
when beach volleyball made its Olympic debut in Atlanta. Kiraly is the
only volleyball player in Olympic history to collect three gold medals.
A member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame and the AVCA Hall of Fame,
Kiraly was named the "Best Player in the World" by FIVB in 1986 and
Eight-time Olympian, J. Michael Plumb, has marched in more Olympic
Opening Ceremonies than any other U.S. Olympic athlete, equestrian or
otherwise. Plumb's Olympic career began with the 1960 Olympic Games and
he was named to every Olympic three-day team through 1984. His final
appearance was at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. He tallied six
Olympic medals, including team gold in 1976 and 1984, team silver in
1964, 1968 and 1972 and an individual silver in 1976. He won his first
Olympic medal competing on a horse he had never ridden in competition
before - an unprecedented feat. His international career also spanned
several World Championships, including team and individual silver medals
in 1974, and team bronze in 1978 and 1982. He is the first equestrian to
be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
A member of the Dream Team in Barcelona, David Robinson, A.K.A. "The
Admiral", is the only U.S. basketball player to be named to three
Olympic teams. Robinson represented the U.S. in 1988, 1992 and 1996
winning gold in 1992 and 1996 and a bronze medal in 1988. Robinson was
also a member of the FIBA World Champion Team in 1986. The three-time
Olympian is considered by many to be one of the top centers of his era.
In 1990, Robinson was named Rookie of the Year by the NBA. He took home
the NBA MVP trophy in 1995 and was named an NBA All-Star 10 times.
Robinson was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in
1998 along with Pele and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. In 2001, he earned the
NBA Sportsmanship Award. He was also named as one of the 50 Greatest NBA
Players in history.
In her Olympic debut, Amy Van Dyken became the first American woman to
win four golds at one Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, garnering medals
in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 4x100 freestyle relay and 4x100m
medley relay. Four years later, Van Dyken tallied two more gold medals
at the Olympic Games in Sydney in the 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m
medley relay. Following her success in Atlanta, Van Dyken was named
USOC Female Athlete of the Year, AP Worldwide Female Athlete of the
Year, USA Swimming Athlete of the Year, Colorado Athlete of the Year,
Phillips 66 Performance of the Year, Women's Sports Foundation
Individual Athlete of the Year, National Athletic Awards Female Athlete
of the Year, ARETE Performance of the Year Award, Glamour Women of the
Year Award and she received an ESPY Award for Female Athlete of the
Lones W. Wigger, Jr., whose career spanned 25 years, is a three-time
Olympian, having competed at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 1968
Olympic Games in Mexico and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where he
won a combined two gold and one silver medal. In addition, he qualified
for the 1980 Olympic Team. Wigger also competed for the U.S. at five Pan
American Games, where he won five silver and 13 gold medals. He is a
member of the USA Shooting Hall of Fame and was also honored in 1996 by
the USOC as a "Golden Olympian." A retired Army Lt. Col., Wigger is a
two tour Vietnam Veteran and spent 25 years in active duty.
Fifteen-time Paralympic medalist John Morgan, racing as a visually
impaired swimmer, first competed at the Paralympic Games in 1984
notching five medals. Eight years later, Morgan tallied eight gold
medals and a pair of silver medals setting six world records and two
Paralympic records at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games. Morgan set
14 world records in his swimming career, including five in the B2
classification and nine in the B1 classification.
Carlo Fassi moved to the United States and began his coaching career
following the 1961 plane crash that killed the entire U.S. World Figure
Skating Team as well as many of the top American coaches. Fassi went on
to coach five Olympic champions: Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John
Curry, Robin Cousins and Scott Hamilton as well as Olympians Jill
Trenary and Paul Wylie. In 1997, while attending the World Figure
Skating Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, as the coach of U.S.
figure skater Nicole Bobek, Fassi suffered a fatal heart attack. He is
survived by his wife, Christa von Kuczkowski, and three children,
Riccardo, Monika and Lorenzo.
Four-time U.S. and five-time World champion Carol Heiss Jenkins took
home the silver following the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina
d'Ampezzo, Italy where she was runner-up to fellow American Tenley
Albright. Heiss Jenkins followed by capturing gold at the 1956 World
Figure Skating Championships, defeating Albright in her first of five
consecutive World titles. From 1957-60, she won four consecutive U.S.
championships and was crowned Olympic champion at the 1960 Olympic
Winter Games in Squaw Valley.
In 1996, the U.S. Women's Team won the United States' first Olympic team
gold medal on July 23. Dubbed the Magnificent Seven, the women on the
U.S. Women's Team -- Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon
Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug -- lived up to
their billing. Millions around the world witnessed the U.S. Team's
outstanding performances that built its lead over Russia in the team
competition. Strug's valiant landing on her second vault despite an
injured ankle produced one of the Games' lasting memories. Her 9.712
vault secured the U.S. Team's clinching the gold medal with a 389.225
total, outscoring Russia and Romania. The Americans' victory was
considered phenomenal because they defeated the 1995 world champion
Romanians, becoming the first non-Soviet bloc nation to win a team gold
since 1950 in either the World Championships or Olympics.
Four-time Academy Award nominee, Frank Marshall, served as the
co-producer of "Olympic Glory" in 1999 and as the television producer of
"Centennial Olympic Games: Torch Relay Opening Ceremonies" in 1996. He
also negotiated for "National Treasure" proceeds to benefit the U.S.
Olympic Committee. In addition to his work with the Olympic Movement,
the film producer and director has also worked on many of Hollywood's
biggest films, including Paper Moon, E.T., the Indiana Jones trilogy,
the Back to the Future trilogy, and the Color Purple.
About the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
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 such as Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Cassius Clay, 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
With the addition of the Class of 2008, 213 athletes (including seven
U.S. teams), coaches, and 13 special contributors to the U.S. Olympic
Movement have been enshrined in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. From the
Charter Class of 1983 to the 2008 inductees, Hall members represent an
American honor roll of athletic ambassadors representing the ideals of
brotherhood and fair play.
For more information, please contact the USOC Media and Public Relations
(719/866-4529). This release also is available on the USOC's
media-specific web site http://usocpressbox.org
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.