The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is reviving the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame, beginning with a new induction class in 2019. A new class comprised of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, legends, team, coach and special contributor will be inducted every two years thereafter.
“The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame celebrates the incredible history of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have represented our country with excellence and distinction since the first modern Games in 1896,” said Sarah Hirshland, USOPC chief executive officer. “We are proud to honor the legacies of these athletes, along with the teams, coaches and contributors who inspired our nation on and off the field of play. With the revival of the hall of fame, their accomplishments and shining examples will live on to inspire future generations of Americans.”
Starting with the class of 2019, the Hall of Fame will see increased Paralympic representation to reflect the burgeoning contributions of U.S. athletes to the Paralympic Movement. In addition, the legend category, which honors long retired athletes, will increase to two inductees in each class and is open to Paralympians. Inductee classes will be comprised of five Olympians, three Paralympians, two legends, one team, one coach and one special contributor. The team and coach categories will also include Paralympians for the first time. The number of individual spots now reflects the U.S. Team sizes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Athlete working groups including Olympians, Paralympians and Hall of Fame members led to the changes for 2019.
“We are excited to increase Paralympic inductees in the Hall of Fame,” said Julie Dussliere, USOC chief of Paralympic sport. “As the Paralympic Movement continues to grow in the U.S., there is no better time to honor the legacies of our outstanding Paralympians, and to make them a prominent part of the Hall of Fame.”
“As an Olympian and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, I am thrilled the Hall of Fame is returning with a class of 2019,” said Dick Fosbury, U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association president. “Team USA athletes, coaches and contributors pour their hearts and souls into the Olympic and Paralympic movement. Providing a platform to recognize their achievements will not only inspire future generations, but bring immense fulfillment and joy to members of the Olympic and Paralympic communities.”
“It is fantastic news that the … Hall of Fame will be revived with a new class of 2019 and will regularly be inducting new members in the future,” said Han Xiao, chair of the USOC’s Athletes Advisory Council. “Throughout my athletic and professional career, I’ve admired generations of Olympic and Paralympic greats, and I was inspired by their examples to become the best I could be and to be an advocate for athletes. The revival of the hall of fame will provide an even larger stage for these Olympic and Paralympic stories to shine, and it is an important step to ensure past and present American athletes receive the recognition they deserve.”
The USOPC accepted Hall of Fame nominations from the public this past spring. The Hall of Fame nominating committee received all eligible nominations and will select the finalists for the Hall of Fame, class of 2019. Members of the nominating committee represent the following areas of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements: U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association, Athletes’ Advisory Council, Paralympic sport, media, USOC Board of Directors, USOC executive and one at-large committee member.
The 2019 finalists will be announced on Aug. 12, thus opening the voting window for Team USA fans, Olympic and Paralympic alumni, and members of the Olympic and Paralympic families. Members of the public will be able to vote once per day through Sept. 3. Recognizing the ongoing support that fans give U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls in their training and competition, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was one of the first major sports hall of fames to incorporate fan voting into the selection process.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame, class of 2019, will be announced in late September, and inducted on Friday, Nov. 1, during an induction ceremony in conjunction with the all-alumni U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Reunion in Colorado Springs.