Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Street nominated for U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame

Olympic champion Picabo Street, who dominated her sport in the 1990s, headlined a group of 15 finalists for consideration to be named to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, presented by Allstate.

Street, a Wood River Valley native, who now lived in Park City, was named a finalist Thursday at a press conference in Chicago, Ill., the USA's bid city for the 2016 Olympics.

The public will have a say in the selection of the U.S. Ski Team athletes. From now through June 16, fans can cast their votes for the 2009 class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame online at

Inductees will be revealed in early July and will be honored at a black-tie ceremony on August 12, at McCormick Place in Chicago. The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame is the only national sports Hall of Fame that includes fan voting.

The U.S. Ski Team's Phil Mahre and adaptive legend Diana Golden-Brosnihan are the only skiing inductees in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, which was established in 1983.

Alpine paralympians Greg Mannino and Sarah Will are also nominees.

2009 nominees were selected by a 10-person committee including past Hall of Fame members, historians, USOC officials and athletes.

Among the 20 individual and 5 team finalists are sprinter Michael Johnson and the 1992 basketball "Dream Team,"as well as sprinter Valerie Brisco-Hooks, swimmer Gary Hall Sr., and wrestler Jeff Blatnick.

Street left her mark in Olympic history in 1998, taking gold in the Nagano super G by a mere hundredth of a second. A three-time Olympian, she earned a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in the downhill.

Street medaled in three World Championships, earning combined silver in 1993, super G bronze and downhill gold in 1996. Winning six of nine World Cup competitions in 1995, she became the first American to win a World Cup season title in a speed event. After a leg injury and two years of rehabilitation, She returned to compete in 2002 in Salt Lake City before retiring. With nine career victories, she was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2005.

"It's a huge honor and I was very flattered. It's big company," Street said. "There's a lot of great people and athletes in the Hall of Fame and I hope the fans support me. That would be pretty cool.

"The nomination was kind of a flashback for me," she added. "I've spent the last couple of days reminiscing about what I've accomplished. When you're a mom, as I am now, you spend so much time trying to make sure your kids have what they need and you put yourself on the back burner. It's been nice to think about that again and feel good about myself and what I've accomplished in my life."

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 such 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 remains the largest group (20 individuals and one team) ever inducted.

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