April 2, 2012
STILLWATER, Okla. – One week remains for fans to help vote Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Fans can vote online once every day through April 9 at www.halloffamevoting.teamusa.
Fan voting plays an important part of the selection process, as it will be factored in with 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.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist wrestler and Olympic wrestling coach John Smith is among the finalists in the individual category.
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.
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.
Those in the wrestling community are encouraged to vote early and often on the Olympic Hall of Fame, and to share this message to all of their friends and contacts.
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.