INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The 2006 class of inductees for the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame includes Olympians and sport innovators. The 2006 Hall of Fame class of seven inductees is comprised of: 1984 Olympic team silver-medalists Pamela Bileck-Flat and Michelle Dusserre-Farrell, both of Colorado Springs, Colo.; coach and contributor Robert F. Bollinger of Rockford, Ill.; 1996 Olympic team gold-medalist Amanda Borden of Chandler, Ariz.; two-time national rhythmic champion Candace Feinberg of Tucson, Ariz.; 1987 U.S. champion Kristie Phillips Bannister of Statesville, N.C.; and 1988 Olympian Tom Schlesinger of Portland, Ore.. The three Lifetime Achievement recipients are: Roe Kreutzer of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Mas Watanabe of Sacramento, Calif.; and Paul Ziert of Norman, Okla.
"Gymnastics as a sport would not be where it is today without the efforts of these individuals," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "The selection of the Hall of Fame inductees and the luncheon are the catalyst for making sure we annually reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of those who have helped make gymnastics what it is today. Remembering and honoring our history are important for us to truly appreciate where we are, how we got here and where we want to go. Congratulations to each and every one of our honorees."
The seven will be inducted into USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 18, at a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel. Tickets are $36 per person.
2006 inductees to the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame
- Pamela Bileck-Flat’s career includes winning the Team Silver Medal at the 1984 Olympic Games and competing on two World Championship Teams (1983 and 1985). She was a two-time Junior National Team member and a three-time Senior National Team member (1981-85). Bileck-Flat graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in 1990 with a BS and a major in communications and business. In the late 1990s, she was a Brevet Judge at USA National Championships and World and Olympic Trials, as well as several international competitions. She has also served on the Women’s Technical Committee, Athletes’ Council and Grievance Committee. Bileck-Flat currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., with her husband Ronen and their three sons, Jonathan (5), Ryan (4), and Alex (2).
- Robert F. Bollinger turned an interest in acrobatics into a life-long passion, becoming one of trampoline’s innovators. The Central AAU trampoline champion during the 1950s, he performed a mini-tramp act on The Ed Sullivan Show; joined George Nissen’s trampoline act; started the first outdoor trampoline jump center in Sycamore, Ill.; and founded Trampoline Town USA. He earned a Master’s degree (Thesis in Physical Education) from Northern University and fully developed the Axial Rotation System for trampoline. Bollinger won the Nissen Research Award and C. H. McLoy Research Award for his preliminary work on Axial Rotation Systems. In 1970 he invented the double-mini tramp and designed rules for competition. Along with Ted Blake and George Nissen, he is credited with creating the World Age Group competition, which was first held in 1973.
- Amanda Borden was the captain of the Magnificent Seven, the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team that won the team gold medal in Atlanta. She also was on the U.S. Team that earned the silver medal at the 1994 World Championships, where she was an uneven bars event finalist. Borden won titles at many other international events, including the 1995 Pan American Games. After retiring from competitive gymnastics, Amanda earned a BS summa cum laude in early childhood education from Arizona State University (ASU). In May 2004, Amanda opened Amanda Borden Gold Medal Gymnastics Academy in Tempe, Ariz. She lives in Chandler with her husband, Brad.
- Michelle Dusserre-Farrell was the youngest member of the women’s 1984 U.S. Olympic Team that won the silver medal. From 1981-87, Dusserre-Farrell was a two-time junior national team member and three-time senior national team member. She holds a BS in nutrition and a MBS in exercise science and is a registered dietitian. Dusserre-Farrell worked as a researcher for NBC TV at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games and then became a sport partnerships manager at the U.S. Olympic Committee. Married for 10 years to Matt Farrell, she is now a full-time mom to their two daughters.
- Candace Feinberg, one of the USA’s true pioneers in rhythmic gymnastics, was a two-time national champion (1974-75) and a member of the 1975 U.S. World Games Team. She has been a rhythmic coach since 1970 and also coached artistic gymnastics throughout the years. An International Brevet Judge since 1985, Feinberg has served in several administrative roles, including rhythmic athletes’ representative, Judge’s Technical Director, International Program Committee chairperson and vice chair of USA Gymnastics Board of Directors. She was the Rhythmic Technical Director for the 1996 Olympic Games. Feinberg and her husband live near Tucson, Ariz. They have two daughters. Today, Feinberg manages their rental properties and a nutritional supplement business, as well as continues to judge.
- Kristie Phillips-Bannister appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated, People, USA Gymnastics and International Gymnast in 1986-87. Her competitive accomplishments included: 1985-86 junior national champion; 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival and McDonald’s American Cup gold medalist; 1987 McDonald’s American Cup, McDonald’s Challenge and U.S. champion; and second alternate for the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. She attended Louisiana State University, where she studied theatre and journalism. She has appeared on movies and done stunts for TV shows. After marrying Horatio Bannister in 1996, she competed at the 1996-98 Reese’s Cup and the 1999-2000 Championships of the USA. Currently Phillips-Bannister is a Brevet Judge and owns her own facility, KPAC, in North Carolina.
- Tom Schlesinger earned a degree in chemistry with distinction at the University of Nebraska, where he won the NCAA all-around title as a junior and the team championship title as a senior. He was a seven-time NCAA All-American, three-time NCAA champion, Nissen award winner, two-time Academic All-American and NCAA “today’s top six” award recipient. A national team member for seven consecutive years, he qualified for three world championship teams (1987, 1989 and 1991) but due to injuries, he only competed at the 1987 Worlds. He was a member of the 1987 gold-medal-winning Pan-American Games Team and the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. Schlesinger earned a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Colorado and then a MD from the University of Southern California. He completed a residency in ophthalmology at USC, followed by a fellowship in retina disease and surgery at the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Ore., where he now lives with his wife and two children.
Lifetime Achievement Award recipients
- Roe Kreutzer has been involved in the sport of gymnastics for more than 50 years, with positions ranging from club owner to coach to administrator. The assistant national team coach from 1980-85, she coached the U.S. Team with Don Peters at many events, including the 1984 Olympic Games, where the U.S. Team earned the silver medal. In the 1980s, Kreutzer was elected to the Women’s Program Committee as the Elite National/International Chairman, a position she held for 24 years. She also represented the elite coaches on the Board of Directors (1980-2000), as well as spent 15 years on the Executive Committee. She continues to work with both the TOPs and mentoring programs for USA Gymnastics.
- Mas Watanabe, who was born in 1941 in Japan, has been a guiding force for men’s gymnastics since he arrived in the United States in 1969. In 1973, he wrote the compulsories for the U.S. Gymnastics Federation’s first Junior Olympic program. In 1977, he became USGF’s men’s program director and helped provide insight and education to the coaches and athletes in the USA. After a brief return to Japan, he became USGF’s men’s national team coordinator in 1988. He was on the Japanese Men’s National Team (1964-68) and the alternate for the 1966 World Championships, where Japan won the gold medal. He currently lives in Sacramento, Calif., where he coaches at Byers Gymnastics Center.
- Paul Ziert, publisher of International Gymnast (IG), has been involved in gymnastics for more than 30 years. His accomplishments range from coaching two-time Olympic champion Bart Conner and two NCAA championship teams from the University of Oklahoma to staging gymnastics events to working in television for three Olympic Games. Possibly best known as Conner’s personal coach, Ziert also coached the University of Oklahoma Men’s Gymnastics Team to two NCAA titles (1977-78), as well as served as the assistant coach for both the U.S. Men’s Team at the 1978 World Championships and the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team in 1980. He holds a BA degree in mathematics from Illinois State University and a MA in mathematics from Stanford University.