Two-time Olympic champion John Smith is finalist for U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame; Fans can vote daily through May 16

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

1988 and 1992 Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist John Smith has been named as one of 15 finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Smith is one of just three wrestlers from the United States to win two Olympic gold medals, joined by George Mehnert (1904, 1908) and Bruce Baumgartner (1984, 1992).

In spite of the fact that wrestling is the No. 3 medal producing sport for Team USA at the Summer Olympics, only two wrestlers are currently in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame: Dan Gable and Bruce Baumgartner.

ONLY FIVE OF THE 15 OLYMPIAN FINALISTS WILL BE INDUCTED. USA Wrestling is asking the wrestling community to rally behind John Smith and actively participate in the fan vote for the Hall of Fame, which runs from today through May 16.

Vote here for John Smith for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame


In addition to his two Olympic gold medals, Smith won four World titles, stringing them all in a row. He is the only U.S. wrestler to win six World and Olympic gold medals in successive year. His amazing streak went 1987 World gold, 1988 Olympic gold, 1989 World gold, 1990 World gold, 1991 World gold, 1992 Olympic gold.

In addition to his great achievements as an athlete, John Smith has also coached the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team in 2000 and 2012.

John Smith has won these honors. Let’s add U.S. Olympic U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame to them:

• Smith was the first wrestler to ever claim the James E. Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990.

• Smith was the first American ever chosen as the Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (now UWW) when he received the honor in 1990.

• Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

• Smith won the Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990.

• In 1992, Smith was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s World Trophy, becoming the first North American wrestler to earn the honor.

• A 2003 inductee into the UWW International Wrestling Hall of Fame

• A distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

• A 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, That same year, Smith was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Honor.

• And many others.


Vote here for John Smith for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced the finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, Class of 2022, consisting of 15 Olympians, nine Paralympians, three Olympic teams, two Paralympic teams, six legends, three coaches and three special contributors.

Team USA fans can cast their vote HERE for the Olympian, Paralympian, Olympic team and Paralympic team categories from today through May 16 to help determine the Class of 2022, which will mark the first class inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame since 2019.

“On behalf of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, it is an honor to unveil the finalists for induction into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, Class of 2022,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “Each finalist has had a profound impact on Team USA, and on the greater Olympic and Paralympic movements. We are proud to honor their work in living out the Olympic and Paralympic ideals, and we look forward to celebrating the Class of 2022.”

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame finalists for 2022 include:


Kristin Armstrong, Cycling; Natalie Coughlin, Swimming; Shani Davis, Speedskating; Cammi Granato, Hockey; Mia Hamm, Soccer; Kayla Harrison, Judo; Michelle Kwan, Figure Skating; Eleanor ‘Elle’ Logan, Rowing; Julia Mancuso, Alpine Skiing; Bode Miller, Alpine Skiing; Michael Phelps, Swimming; John Smith, Wrestling; Dawn Staley, Basketball; Brenda Villa, Water Polo; Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing


Steve Cash, Sled Hockey; Muffy Davis, Para Alpine Skiing, Para-cycling; Susan Hagel, Wheelchair Basketball, Para Archery, Para Track and Field; Trischa Zorn-Hudson, Para Swimming; David Kiley, Wheelchair Basketball, Para Track and Field, Para Alpine Skiing; Marla Runyan, Para Track and Field, Olympic Track and Field; Marlon Shirley, Para Track and Field; Andy Soule, Para Nordic Skiing; Cortney (Jordan) Truitt, Para Swimming

Olympic Team

1976 Women’s Swimming 4x100 Freestyle Relay Team; 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team; 2010 Four-Man Bobsled Team

Paralympic Team

2002 U.S. Sled Hockey Team; 2008 U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team


Billy Fiske, Bobsled; Gretchen Fraser, Alpine Skiing; Roger Kingdom, Track and Field; Darrell Pace, Archery; Brad Parks, Wheelchair Tennis; Norbert ‘Norb’ Schemansky, Weightlifting


Bob Beattie, Alpine Skiing; James ‘Doc’ Counsilman, Swimming; Pat Summit, Basketball

Special Contributor

Walter Bush; Billie Jean King; David Wallechinsky

The finalists will be narrowed down to five Olympians, three Paralympians, one Olympic team and one Paralympic team for induction into the class of 2022. In addition to the public vote, U.S. Olympians and Paralympians and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family will also vote on the categories of legend, coach and special contributor. The Olympic and Paralympic family consists of the Athletes’ Advisory Council, National Governing Bodies, High Performance Management Organizations, USOPC board of directors, Paralympic Advisory Council members, and select members of the media.

“The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame is an important guardian of the rich history of Team USA,” said USOPC Board Chair Susanne Lyons. “My sincere gratitude goes to all the finalists for representing the United States with amazing skill and pride, for working in support of the Olympic and Paralympic values, and using sport to drive positive change in their communities and around the world.”

Starting in 2022, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame will include the separation of one Olympic team and one Paralympic team.

The Class of 2022 will be announced on Wednesday, June 1, and inducted on Friday, June 24, during a ceremony at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Red carpet arrivals, interviews and the induction awards dinner at the Museum, the permanent home for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, will be open to the media; credential information will be available in June.

“Congratulations to all the athletes and teams whose legacies and impact we celebrate today as finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame,” said Caryn Davies, U.S. Olympians & Paralympians Association president. “These finalists represent the larger body of Team USA athletes, and we thank them for their commitment to sport and inspiring the next generation of athletes.”

Visit to explore the history and achievements of all current hall of fame members.

About the USOPC

Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. The USOPC is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes, and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, and serving as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the U.S. For more information, visit

About the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to celebrate the achievements of America's premier athletes in the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games. The first U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1983 during a ceremony in Chicago and included Team USA greats such as Dan Gable, Muhammad Ali, Bob Beamon, Peggy Fleming, Al Oerter, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Bruce Baumgartner, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" men’s hockey team.