Janet Evans and Jackie Joyner-Kersee headline the first U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class since 1992. Swimmer Matt Biondi, late track and field standout Florence Griffith Joyner and speedskaters Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair also were selected.
Also inducted: the 1996 women's soccer team, paralympian Randy Snow, veteran inductee Alice Coachman Davis and special contributor Bud Greenspan.
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced the additions yesterday at the U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit. The Hall was founded in 1983; no new members were added in the past 12 years because of a lack of funding.
"The USOC has so many amazing traditions and so many positive things to set forth. Reinstating the Hall of Fame is an important step to reinforcing the dominance of the U.S. Olympic team," Evans said.
Evans won four gold medals to tie Mark Spitz as the only American swimmer with that many individual Olympic titles. She still holds world records in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meter freestyle and competed in three Olympics.
But her greatest Olympic moment happened out of the pool, she said. It was in Atlanta in 1996, when she handed off the torch during the Opening Ceremonies to Muhammad Ali.
"That moment made me realize the entire scope of the games, and what it means to so many people," she said.
Joyner-Kersee won Olympic heptathlons in 1988 and 1992, and the four-time Olympian won six medals in her career. Biondi won 11 medals, eight gold, and is tied with Spitz and shooter Carl Osburn for the most Olympic medals ever won by an American, while Blair is the most decorated American winter Olympian with five golds.
Griffith Joyner, who died in 1998 of an apparent heart seizure, won five medals in her career and still holds world records in the 100 and 200. Jansen overcame several disappointments to break the world record and win the gold medal in his final event, the 1,000, in 1994.
Snow is the only athlete to compete in three Paralympic Games in three sports and win medals in each (track, tennis and basketball); the 1996 women's soccer team won gold in the inaugural tournament; Greenspan has made films celebrating the Olympics; and Coachman Davis's victory in the 1948 high jump made her the first black woman to win Olympic gold.
The induction ceremony will take place July 1 in Chicago.
Australia, U.S. Cruise
In Zadar, Croatia, Australia's men and Sweden's women won gold medals at the 470 world sailing championships, the last Olympic qualifying regatta.
The United States was among five women's teams to clinch spots for the Athens Games, joining Argentina, Canada, Brazil and Italy. The six men's Olympic qualifying berths were earned by Turkey, Poland, Bulgaria, South Korea, Hungary and Austria. Racing was canceled yesterday because of lack of wind.