USA Wrestling

Mar 02 John Smith is finalist for U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame; Fans may vote daily online through April 9

By USOC/USA Wrestling | March 02, 2012, 9:23 p.m. (ET)
February 27, 2012 -- The U.S. Olympic Committee and Allstate Insurance Company (NYSE: ALL) today announced the list of nominees eligible for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate and invited fans to start voting for those athletes and teams they feel are most deserving of a spot in the Class of 2012.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist wrestler and Olympic wrestling coach John Smith is among the finalists in the individual category.

Click to vote for John Smith for Olympic Hall of Fame

Smith was considered by many the best freestyle wrestler in U.S. history. He claimed gold medals at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, and won four World gold medals (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991). His six straight World-level titles is unprecedented. He also won titles at the Pan American Games (twice), Goodwill Games (twice) and the World Cup.

Smith won most of the major awards in amateur athletics, including the James E. Sullivan Award, the USOC SportsMan of the Year and the World Trophy. He was FILA Wrestler of the Year in 1991, and won the 1990 FILA Master of Technique Award. He is a member of the FILA International Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, along with many other major honors. In 2004, Smith was presented with the Titan Award by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA's 75th Anniversary Team.

Smith served as a co-head coach for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, which competed in Sydney, Australia. The U.S. won four individual medals, including a gold medal from Brandon Slay.

Currently head coach at Oklahoma State, Smith was a two-time NCAA champion for the Cowboys and a three-time Oklahoma state high school champion.

Others who are nominees in this category are: Greg Barton (canoe/kayak), Valerie Brisco (track & field), Gail Devers (track & field), Anne Donovan (basketball), Lisa Fernandez (softball), Gretchen Fraser (alpine skiing), Cammi Granato (ice hockey), Gary Hall, Jr. (swimming), Bill Koch (cross country skiing), Kristine Lilly (soccer), Dan O'Brien (track & field), Darrell Pace (archery), Tracie Ruiz-Conforto (synchronized swimming), Terry Schroeder (water polo), Dawn Staley (basketball), William Steinkraus (equestrian), Jenny Thompson (swimming).

There are only two wrestlers in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, Dan Gable and Bruce Baumgartner. This makes wrestling well under-represented, considering that the U.S. wrestling program has produced 46 Olympic gold medals for the United States, as well as over 120 Olympic medals.

VOTE ONCE A DAY- Rules for the voting allows people to vote once per day in each category. Online voting is an important part of the selection process.

Those in the wrestling community is encouraged to vote early and often on the Olympic Hall of Fame, and to share this message to all of their friends and contacts.

Another athlete with a wrestling background eligible for induction into the Olympic Hall of Fame is Jim Mastro, in the Paralympic nominee category. In addition to wrestling, Mastro competed in goalball, judo and track and field.

"The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame celebrates a commitment to excellence and perseverance and recognizes American athletes who are role models and heroes" said Mark LaNeve, Allstate's chief marketing officer and senior executive vice president of agency operations. "Allstate is proud to protect the legacy of these athletes and their accomplishments while offering fans the chance to play an important role in selecting who will be eternally etched in Olympic history."

The public is invited to vote for their preferred candidates and teams by visiting a dedicated voting portal at TeamUSA.org/halloffame. Voters will be allowed to vote once per day, per category, through April 9, 2012. Recognizing the ongoing support that fans give U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls in their training and competition, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate was one of the first major sports halls of fame to incorporate fan voting into the selection process.

Once voting closes, the public vote totals will be added to the vote totals of Olympians, Paralympians and U.S. Olympic Family members to determine the six Olympians, one Paralympian and one team that will make up the 2012 class. The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate Class of 2012 will be announced in May and inducted on July 12 during an induction ceremony at the Harris Theater in Chicago, Ill.

"It is a privilege to introduce this incredibly deserving group of nominees for induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and an honor to invite the American public to vote for who they want to be a part of the class of 2012" said Scott Blackmun, USOC chief executive officer. "With excitement building ahead of the London Games this summer, there is no better time than now to honor the legacy of the great individual and team performances, and make them a permanent part of U.S. Olympic Team history."

The nominees for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate class were selected by a nominating committee comprised of individuals representing the following areas of the U.S. Olympic Movement: United States Olympians Association, Athletes' Advisory Council, media members, USOC executive team, USOC Board of Directors, one at-large committee member and a Paralympic sports representative.

U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame website

About the USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., the U.S. Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.

About Allstate
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $28 million in 2011 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.

About the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
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 and 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" men's hockey team. In 2004, after a 12-year hiatus, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was revived through the support of the Allstate Insurance Company as the presenting sponsor. Now every Olympic year, past Olympic athletes, teams, Paralympians, coaches, veterans and special contributors gather to welcome in the newest members of the Hall of Fame.
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