March 12, 2008
Berkeley - Berkeley - The United States Olympic Committee, which announced the finalists for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008, is now inviting the public to vote online at usolympichalloffame.com to help determine who will comprise the next class of inductees. Six individual Olympians, one Olympic team and one Paralympian, along with a coach, a veteran and a special contributor, will be honored during the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Presented by Allstate. Fans can vote online through March 28.
Former Cal great, Mary T. Meagher, now Mary T. Meagher-Plant, was announced as one of the 18 finalists fans can vote for. Meagher started her swimming career at the age of 14 by setting a world record at the 1979 Pan American Games. She was expected to compete with the U.S. National Team at the 1980 Olympic Games, but the U.S. boycott prevented that debut. The following year at the 1981 U.S. National Championships, Meagher set world records in both the 200-meter and 100-meter butterflies - records that stood nearly two decades.
Meagher, appropriately nicknamed "Madame Butterfly", was named the Female World Swimmer of the Year twice by Swimming World Magazine, and was also selected as one of Sports Illustrated's 100 Greatest Women Athletes - No. 17 on the list. At the 1984 Olympic Games, Meagher brought home gold medals in the 200 fly, 100 fly, and a medley relay. In 1988 at the Olympic Games in Seoul, she brought home a bronze medal in the 200 fly. At the end of her competitive career, Meagher held 24 U.S. National titles.
During her tenure at Cal, Meagher Plant won six individual NCAA championships in her four years with the Golden Bears. She also won the Honda Sports Award for swimming in 1985 and 1987 and was selected as the winner of the 1987 Honda Broderick Cup, given annually to the top female college athlete. Meagher is already in the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
The awards-show style ceremony will take place at 7:00 p.m. on June 19 at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater in Chicago, Ill. Additionally, a nationally-televised special will enable sports fans across the United States to re-live the moments that catapulted the Class of 2008 inductees to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame status. Additional information regarding the telecast of the induction ceremony will be released at a later date.
The Class of 2008 finalists were selected by a nominating committee consisting of athletes, members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, historians and USOC representatives. Votes cast by the general public on the Hall of Fame website will comprise 10% of the total vote.