The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame will be housed in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in downtown Colorado Springs, but control over who earns that recognition will remain a few blocks away with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Got all that? Here is more information about the Hall of Fame.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee established its Hall of Fame in 1979 and inducted the first members in 1983, a 21-member class that included Olympic icons like Muhammad Ali, Bob Beamon, Babe Didrikson, Peggy Fleming, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 men’s hockey team.
New classes are to be inducted every two years, starting with the 2019 class. The frequency of elections has changed through the Hall of Fame’s history. They were held annually from 1983-’92. No classes were added between 1992-2003 and 2012-’19. The only classes inducted this century were 2004, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’12 and ’19.
A nominating committee that includes athletes, media, USOPC executives, USOPC board of directors and one at-large member vote on nominees for each class.
Once finalists are announced, voting is done by fans, Olympic and Paralympic alumni and their families.
Each class comprises five Olympians, three Paralympians, two legends (defined as long-retired athletes), one Olympic or Paralympic team, one Olympic or Paralympic coach and one special contributor. The number of individual spots reflects the U.S. team sizes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
There are currently 99 Olympians and Paralympians, 10 legends, 10 teams, four coaches and 18 special contributors in the Hall of Fame.