National Track & Field Hall of Famer Joan Samuelson 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 at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater.
The winner of the first Olympic women's marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Samuelson is synonymous with the increased popularity of long distance running in the United States. She is slated to compete in her fourth U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon on Sunday.
Samuelson won the 1984 Olympic Trials Marathon at age 26, just 17 days following agonizing knee surgery, and went on to win the first women's Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles. She was ranked #1 in the world in the marathon on two occasions, and is a former world and U.S. record holder in that event. She was the 1981 U.S. 10,000m champion and the 1984 U.S. women's marathon champion.
Samuelson set the world and U.S. women's marathon record in 1984, and set the U.S. women's marathon record four times. She was ranked #4 in the world at 10,000m in 1984, and she was world ranked five-times in the marathon (#1 two times).
Recognized as a pioneer of women's marathoning, Samuelson won the 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons, the 1992 Columbus Marathon and the 1985 Chicago Marathon. In 1985, she was awarded the prestigious AAU Sullivan Award as the nation's finest amateur athlete.
Additional 2008 inductees to the USOC Hall of Fame include Wrestler Bruce Baumgartner, 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 be honored in the Team category, as will legendary Hollywood producer Frank Marshall as the Special Contributor.
Tickets to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony can be purchased at www.usolympichalloffame.com. For more information visit:
photos Janos Schmidt