INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 1, 2009 – Three-time U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics head coach Abie Grossfeld, who in 1984 coached the U.S. men to their only Olympic team gold medal, is among the 2009 class of inductees for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate. Grossfeld, the only coach in this year’s class, and the other recipients will be honored at the 2009 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony presented by Allstate, scheduled for Aug. 12 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
"Abie has been a strong advocate and supporter of gymnastics as an athlete, coach and judge, and his passion has helped transform the sport into what it is today," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. " He is deserving of this recognition for his outstanding coaching accomplishments, especially the first team gold medal won by the US men at the 1984 Olympic Games – one of the most important moments in USA Gymnastics history."
In addition to Grossfeld, the other members of the 2009 class are: Olympic gold medalists Michael Johnson (athletics), Teresa Edwards (basketball), Mary T. Meagher (swimming), the 1992 Men’s Basketball Team; Paralympic gold-medalist Sarah Will (alpine skiing); and Olympic silver medalists Picabo Street (alpine skiing) and Willye White (athletics). Skiing’s Andrea Mead-Lawrence was selected in the veteran category, and former USOC Board Chairman and head of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee Peter Ueberroth is the special contributor inductee.
Grossfeld served as head coach for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team for men’s gymnastics that earned eight medals, including the U.S. men’s only Olympic team gold medal. He also was the head coach of the men’s gymnastics team at the 1972 and 1988 Olympic Games, and was assistant coach for the men’s team in 1964 and the women’s team in 1968. He was the personal coach of Peter Kormann, who became the first U.S. man to win an Olympic medal in 44 years with a bronze medal on floor exercise in 1976. Grossfeld also served as head coach for the U.S. men’s gymnastics team at five World Championships and two Pan American Games. The U.S. national coach for men’s gymnastics from 1981-88, Grossfeld coached the first U.S. men’s team that defeated the USSR in 1982. He also served as a collegiate gymnastics head coach for 42 years, spending one year at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and 41 years at Southern Connecticut State University.
As an athlete, Grossfeld represented the USA internationally during a 15-year period (1952-67). Among his accomplishments are: competed in two Olympic Games (1956 and 1960) and two World Championships (1958 and 1962); earned a total of 15 medals, eight of them gold, at three Pan American Games (1955, 1959 and 1963); competed in the AAU National Championships for 17 years (1952-68), claiming three consecutive national horizontal bar titles and placing in the top three 15 times; and competed at the University of Illinois, where he won four NCAA titles and seven Big Ten Championships, as well as earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor and was the first Aca A minorAca A sports athlete selected as Illinois’ Athlete of the Year.
Grossfeld is a member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as an athlete, coach and contributor. He has been an International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Brevet judge, which is the highest international certification, since 1969.
Two teams and four individuals are members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for their gymnastics accomplishments: 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Gymnastics Team (2006); 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team (2008); Bart Conner (1991); Shannon Miller (2006); Mary Lou Retton (1985); and Peter Vidmar (1991). Conner and Vidmar were members of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team, and Miller was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Team.
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 Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Muhammad Ali, 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 Allstate Insurance Company as the presenting sponsor.