1996 women’s Olympic gold medalists
© USA Gymnastics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 27, 2008 – The Magnificent Seven, the 1996 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team that won the team title at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, are among the finalists for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008. The public can vote online at usolympichalloffame.com to help determine who will comprise the next class of inductees. Six individual Olympians, one Olympic team and one Paralympian, along with a coach, a veteran and a special contributor, will be honored during the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Presented by Allstate at 7:00 p.m. on June 19 at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater in Chicago, Ill.

“The 1996 Olympic Women’s Team is certainly deserving of this nomination and recognition,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “They won the USA’s first, and only thus far, women’s Olympic team gold medal, which is a considerable accomplishment. The images from their performances during the 1996 Olympic Games have become lasting icons for the Games in Atlanta. Known as the Magnificent Seven, they became the stars of the Games. We hope fans will vote them into the USOC’s Hall of Fame.”

In 1996, the U.S. Women’s Team won the United States’ first women’s Olympic team gold medal on July 23. Dubbed the Magnificent Seven, the women on the U.S. Women’s Team — Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug – lived up to their billing. Millions around the world witnessed the U.S. Team’s outstanding performances that built its lead over Russia in the team competition. Strug’s valiant landing on her second vault despite an injured ankle produced one of the Games’ lasting memories. Her 9.712 vault secured the U.S. Team’s clinching the gold medal with a 389.225 total, outscoring Russia and Romania.

The 1984 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team, which won the team title in 1984, already has been inducted into the USOC Hall of Fame in the team category. The members of the 1984 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team are: Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Mitch Gaylord, Jim Hartung, Jim Mikus, Scott Johnson and Peter Vidmar. Shannon Miller and Mary Lou Retton are the only other gymnasts in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Envisioned as a lasting tribute to the pursuit of excellence and the Olympic ideals, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was established to celebrate the achievements of America’s premier athletes in the modern Olympic Games.

“The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a celebration of the unique spirit and heritage of the Olympic movement in America,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “We appreciate the support of Allstate Insurance Company for their continued support of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and their commitment to honoring the accomplishments of America’s Olympic greats and, in doing so, preserving the Olympic ideals.”

The Class of 2008 finalists in the individual sport/event, team and Paralympic categories were selected by a nominating committee consisting of athletes, members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, historians and USOC representatives. The committee also selected the individuals to be honored in the coach, veteran and special contributor categories. Their names will be announced with the other inductees.

Public voting at usolympichalloffame.com continues through Friday, March 28.

In 2008, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will once again be held in Chicago where the charter class was enshrined in 1983, with such Olympic legends as Bob Beamon, Cassius Clay, Peggy Fleming, Al Oerter, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Hockey Team. Annual additions continued through 1992, adding Olympic legends such as Bart Conner, Donna de Varona, Dorothy Hamill, “Sugar Ray” Leonard, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, Phil Mahre, Debbie Meyer, John Naber and Mary Lou Retton. Corporate support from presenting sponsor Allstate sparked the Hall’s revitalization in 2004. The Hall of Fame consists of 192 Distinguished Members, including 84 athletes from individual sports, seven teams and 12 special contributors.

In addition to Allstate’s role as presenting sponsor for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, AT&T and Kleenex will serve as supporting sponsors for the event.

U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008 Finalists

Individual Finalists – Six (6) to be inducted
Greg Barton, Canoe/Kayak
Bruce Baumgartner, Wrestling, freestyle
Joan Benoit, Track & Field
Jeff Blatnick, Wrestling
Brian Boitano, Figure Skating
Valerie Brisco, Track & Field
Oscar de la Hoya, Boxing
Teresa Edwards, Basketball
Karch Kiraly, Volleyball
Mary T. Meagher, Swimming
Sheila Young Ochowicz, Speedskating
Darrell Pace, Archery
J. Michael Plumb, Equestrian
David Robinson, Basketball
John Smith, Wrestling
Amy Van Dyken, Swimming
Peter Westbrook, Fencing
Lones Wigger, Shooting

Teams – One (1) to be inducted
1976 Women’s Swimming 4×100 Freestyle Relay
1992 Men’s Basketball Team
1996 Synchronized Swimming Team
1996 Women’s Gymnastics Team
1998 Women’s Ice Hockey Team

Paralympians – One (1) to be inducted
Ross Davis, Track & Field
Jean Driscoll, Track & Field
Sharon Hedrick, Track & Field
Jim Mastro, Judo/Wrestling/Track & Field/Goalball
John Morgan, Swimming