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Posted: April 18, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: USATF News and Notes, Volume 9, Number 19

Three track Hall of Famers nominated for U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
Three members of the National track & Field Hall of Fame have been nominated for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Allstate Insurance Company on Thursday announced a star-studded nominee list of 15 individuals, five teams and five Paralympians, including Olympic track and field legends Michael Johnson, Valerie Brisco-Hooks and Willye White.

The current world and American record holder in the 400 meters and the 200m American-record holder, Michael Johnson became the first man in history to win both those events at the same Olympics in 1996 at Atlanta. He became the only man to repeat as Olympic 400m champion when he won the gold in 2000. Johnson, who set the 200m world record on two occasions, is a three-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist. A five-time World Outdoor Championships team member, Johnson won the 200m gold medal in 1991 and '95, the 400m gold medal in 1993, '95, '97, '99, and World Outdoor Championships 4x400m gold medals in 1993, '95, '99. A five-time USA Outdoor 200m champion, Johnson won the USA Outdoor 400m title four times, and he won a quartet of USA Indoor 400m titles as well. He was world ranked 11 times at 200m (#1 five times), and 400m (#1 10 times).

More than a decade before Michael Johnson galvanized world attention with his 200m/400m doubles, Valerie Brisco-Hooks became the first person to perform that feat in the Olympics. Her stage was ideal: the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, just miles from her home at that time. She set American records in both individual events, running 21.81 in the 200m and 48.83 in the 400m. She won her third gold medal that year when she anchored the U.S. 4x400m relay team that set an American record with its time of 3:18.28. In 1988, Brisco-Hooks won her fourth Olympic medal when she ran the third leg on the 4x400m relay team that broke the world record but finished second to the USSR team. She became the first American woman to break 50 seconds in the 400 meters with her time of 49.83. In 1985, she set an indoor world record of 52.99 in the 440-yard run, and she was the national champion in the outdoor 400m in 1986. In 1987, she won a relay gold medal at the Pan American Games and a bronze medal as a member of the 4x400m relay at the World Outdoor Championships.

The first woman to compete for the U.S. in five Olympics, Willye White was the top American long jumper during the 1960s. She was a sophomore in high school when she first appeared in Olympic competition at Melbourne in 1956, taking the silver medal. After enrolling at Tennessee State University under Hall of Fame coach Ed Temple, she appeared in the 1960 Olympics in the long jump but did not make the final. Four years later, she won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay after a 12th-place in the long jump. She was 11th in the long jump in 1968 and 1972, her other two Olympic appearances. She competed in three Pan American Games, finishing third in 1959, first in 1963, and third in 1967. A veteran of 34 international teams (including 11 consecutive years of competing in the USA-USSR dual meet), White won a dozen National AAU long jump titles, 11 outdoors. She also set the national long jump record on seven occasions. A member of the Black Sports Hall of Fame and the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, she established the Willye White Foundation in 1991 to help young girls develop self-esteem and become more productive citizens within their communities.

From now through June 16, fans can cast their votes for the 2009 class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame online at www.teamusa.org. The inducted class will include five individuals, one team and one Paralympian, as well as three additional individuals: a coach, veteran and special contributor. The inductees will be revealed in early July and will be honored at a black-tie induction ceremony on August 12 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate is the only national sports Hall of Fame that includes fan voting.

The August 12 induction ceremony will honor the 2009 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class and introduce a new international award - the Olive Branch Award - given to an individual or individuals who best represent the international ideals of the Olympic Games by working to build a peaceful and better world through sport. Also new to 2009, the induction ceremony will feature a special fundraising banquet to benefit Chicago 2016, Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more information on the 2009 nominees, including bios and photos, and a comprehensive list of existing U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame members, please visit www.teamusa.org.

Bear Butte running camp
Nike Running has launched their Free SuperNatural commercial online. Members of the fictional Bear Butte running camp are wearing the new Nike Free 5.0 running shoe and nothing else, the idea being that running in the Free is "super natural."

The ad features USA Track & Field stars Nick Symmonds, a 2008 Olympian, 2007 World Outdoor 10,000m bronze medalist Kara Goucher and her husband Adam Goucher, who is a two-time U.S. 5,000m champion and 2006 U.S. Outdoor 5,000m champion Lauren Fleshman.

You can view the commercials online at Inside Nike Running or YouTube.com.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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