By Maddy Wold//USA Swimming Staff
The list of nominees eligible for inductions into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was announced by the United States Olympic Committee and features a total of 18 individual nominee finalists, five Paralympic nominee finalists, and five team nominee finalists.
Included in the list of finalists are swimmers Gary Hall, Jr., Jenny Thompson, and the 1976 women’s swimming 4x100m freestyle relay.
Fans are invited to vote online for each category. Each person can vote once per day, per category through April 9. Once public voting closes in April, the public votes will be combined with the votes from Olympians, Paralympians and the U.S. Olympic Family. The 2012 inducted class will include six Olympians, one Paralympian, and one team. The final class will be announced in May and will be inducted on July 12 in Chicago, Ill.
Nominated swimmers include:
Gary Hall, Jr.:
Hall Jr. could be considered one of the greatest sprinters in American swimming history. His Olympic success is even more notable considering he was diagnosed as an insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes patient in 1999. Out of the pool, Hall Jr. has been an advocate for diabetes research, serving as spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. Notable achievements include:
• Three-time Olympic member (1996, 2000, 2004)
• Owns a total of 10 Olympic medals (5 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze)
• Set the former American-record in the 50m free which stood for eight years
• At age 29, became the oldest male in 80 years to win gold for the U.S. when he won the 50, free at the 2004 Olympics.
Thompson finished her career in 2004 as the most decorated U.S. Olympian of all time. Throughout her career, she set 15 world records, competed in four Olympic Games, and won 12 Olympic medals. She now serves as a fellow in anesthesiology at a hospital in Boston. Thompson’s career achievements include:
• 12 Olympic medals, eight of which were relay gold
• Member of four NCAA championship teams during her four years at Stanford
• Amassed 19 individual and relay NCAA titles while at Stanford
1976 U.S. Olympic Women’s 4x100m free relay team:
Shirley Babashoff, Wendy Boglioli, Kim Peyton, and Jill Sterkel are members of the world record-setting team for perhaps the single greatest race in the history of women’s swimming. The foursome combined to win the only gold medal for the U.S. women’s Olympic swim team at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Other notable aspects of this historic race include:
• Time of 3:44:82 defeated the favored East German’s by 0.68 seconds and bested the world record by almost four seconds
• Was the only gold medal for the U.S. women’s swim team, the East German’s would go on to win 11 of the 13 women’s swimming events
• World record stood for two years
• Finalist for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005
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 Hall of Fame was revived in 2004 after a 12-year hiatus through the support of Allstate Insurance Company who became the presenting sponsor. Currently a new class is inducted every Olympic year.
To see the entire list of nominees and to vote, go to www.TeamUSA.org/HallofFame. Remember to vote daily so that these legendary swimmers can join the ranks of other elite Olympians in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.