Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Leslie to be Inducted into U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame
Four-time Olympic basketball gold medalist Lisa Leslie is among the list of athletes named to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, class of 2019, which will be honored and inducted at an awards dinner Friday, Nov. 1, at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The class of 2019 is comprised of nine individuals, one team, two legends, one coach and one special contributor, and together, represents 12 different sports.
Leslie in 2008 became the first consecutive four-time Olympic basketball gold medal winner in history after also claiming gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and is one of just four athletes with four Olympic basketball gold medals (Sue Bird, Teresa Edwards, Diana Taurasi). She owns the U.S. Olympic single game record for most points scored in a game (35), which ranks sixth among all nations women’s basketball Olympians since women’s basketball was introduced to the Olympic program in 1976.
Already a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, she owns the top three spots on the list of most points scored by a U.S. woman in a single competition, including 156 in1996, 126 in 2000 and 125 in 2004. She also holds U.S. single competition records for points averaged (19.5 ppg.), most blocked shots (14) and averaged blocks (1.8 bpg.); is the all-time U.S. record-holder for points (488 in four Olympiads), rebounds (241) and blocked shots (37).
Further, among all-time world leaders, Leslie ranks fourth for scoring and 6th for single-game points.
Leslie’s historic USA Basketball career, which launched in 1989, includes a pair of FIBA World Cup gold medals, and she was the 2002 World Cup MVP.
Previously elected basketball members of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame include athletes Teresa Edwards and David Robinson, coach Henry Iba, and the 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams.
The other inductees include Candace Cable (Para alpine skiing, Para Nordic skiing, Para track and field), Nastia Liukin (gymnastics), Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball), Apolo Anton Ohno (short track speedskating), Erin Popovich (Para swimming), Dara Torres (swimming), Chris Waddell (Para alpine skiing, Para track and field), the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, John Carlos (legend: track and field), Tommie Smith (legend: track and field), Ron O’Brien (coach: diving) and Tim Nugent (special contributor).
“The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame represents the pinnacle of competitive excellence in our nation, and its inspiring members are champions who have transcended sport through the legacy they leave both on and off the field of play,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “It’s an honor to welcome the class of 2019 into this prestigious and celebrated honor roll. We thank them for their impact on sport and society, and for continuing to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans.”
The class of 2019 has represented the United States at a combined 36 Olympic and Paralympic Games, tallying 79 medals including 43 golds. There are also two new sports or sport disciplines added to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame. Ohno is the first short track speedskater to be inducted, while Cable is the first Nordic skier.
The 13 inductees were determined by a voting process that includes Olympians and Paralympians, members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family, and an online vote open to fans. The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame was one of the first national sports halls of fame to include fan voting as part of its selection process, and this year, nearly 200,000 votes were cast.
This will be the 16th class inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, bringing the total to 154 inductees (individuals and teams). The first class was inducted in 1983. The distinguished class of 2019 includes:
- Candace Cable (Para alpine skiing, Para Nordic skiing, Para track and field – 1980, 1988, 1992, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2006): Nine-time Paralympian in three sports; first U.S. woman to win medals in both the Summer and the Winter Paralympic Games; 12 medals total, including eight golds; 84 career first-place marathon finishes
- Nastia Liukin (gymnastics – 2008): Five-time Olympic medalist at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, most of any gymnast from any country in 2008; claimed gold in the women’s all-around; her five medals tie hall of famer Shannon Miller and Simone Biles as the most won by a U.S. gymnast at a single Games; nine-time world championship medalist with four golds
- Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball – 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012): Along with former partner Kerri Walsh Jennings, is the only three-time Olympic beach volleyball champion; Most Outstanding Player at 2004 and 2008 Games; three-time FIVB world champion; finished career with then-record of 112 wins; International Volleyball Hall of Fame member
- Apolo Anton Ohno (short track speedskating – 2002, 2006, 2010): Eight-time Olympic medalist; most decorated winter Olympian in U.S. history; three-time Olympian; 21 world championship medals, including eight golds; 12-time national champion
- Erin Popovich (Para swimming – 2000, 2004, 2008): Three-time Paralympian and 19-time medalist, including 14 golds; won seven golds in seven races, setting three world records and four Paralympic Games records at Athens 2004; two-time winner of the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability
- Dara Torres (swimming – 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2008): Twelve-time Olympic medalist; tied for most decorated female swimmer in history; first American to swim at five Olympics; at 41, set three American records en route to three silver medals at Beijing 2008; 16-time national champion
- Chris Waddell (Para alpine skiing, Para track and field – 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004): Seven-time Paralympian and 13-time medalist in alpine skiing (12) and track and field (one); most decorated male monoskier in U.S. history; three-time alpine world champion; 32-time national champion
- 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team: Won the first-ever Olympic gold medal awarded in women's ice hockey; finished the Games with a 6-0-0 record, outscoring its opponents 36-8; inspired thousands of American girls and women to play ice hockey, from 28,000 in 1998 to 80,000 today
- John Carlos (legend: track and field – 1968): Captured bronze in the 200-meter at the Mexico City 1968 Games; tied the world record of 9.1 seconds in the 100-yard at the West Coast Relays in 1969; three-time world record holder; 1967 Pan American Games champion in the 200-meter; courageously stood up for racial equality during the civil rights movement
- Tommie Smith (legend: track and field – 1968): Captured gold in the 200-meter at the Mexico City 1968 Games; finished in 19.83 seconds, setting the world record and making him the first athlete to break the 20-second barrier legally; held 13 world records throughout career, 11 simultaneously; courageously stood up for racial equality during the civil rights movement
- Ron O’Brien (coach: diving): Coached the U.S. Olympic diving team at six straight Olympic Games between 1968-1988; his divers won 154 gold, 90 silver and 78 bronze medals in major Olympic, world, national, NCAA and Big Ten Conference diving championships in his first 25 years of coaching; all 12 U.S. diving individual national titles were won by his divers in 1988; inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame
- Tim Nugent (special contributor): Creator of the Division of Disability Resources and Services program at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, a program that has produced hundreds of Paralympic medalists; served as the first commissioner of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association; helped change perceptions of people with disabilities and was a pioneer for accessibility
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Nov. 1 in conjunction with the all-alumni U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Reunion. The ceremony will be hosted by NBC’s Jimmy Roberts and will feature more than 200 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic alumni, including several current members of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.
“On behalf of USOPA, congratulations to the class of 2019, and welcome to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame – a deserving home for such decorated luminaries,” said Dick Fosbury, U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association president and hall of fame member. “These remarkable athletes and individuals have inspired a nation and helped advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. The all-alumni reunion and induction ceremony this fall will be tremendous celebrations of sport and humanity.”
Visit TeamUSA.org/HallOfFame to explore the history and achievements of all 154 hall of fame members.