Teresa Edwards To Enter U.S. Olympic Hall Of Fame

Five-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist Teresa Edwards, and the historic 1992 Dream Team were named today by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and Allstate Insurance Company as members of the Class of 2009 who will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate. This year’s class is comprised of five Olympians, one Paralympian, one team, as well as three additional individuals: a coach, veteran and a special contributor.

“Olympians are champions, role models and leaders that inspire us to pursue our passions,” said Tom Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Allstate. “The Class of 2009 continues this tradition and embodies the commitment to excellence and drive to succeed. They make us proud to be Americans. Allstate is proud to honor them as members of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.”

Teresa Edwards is the most decorated Olympic basketball player in the world, male or female, with four gold medals and one bronze medal in five Olympic Games. She is the USA’s only five-time Olympic basketball player and one of only three five-time Olympic basketball players (male or female) in the world. She is also one of only three U.S. Olympians to win gold in four different Olympic Games, joining former teammate Lisa Leslie and sprinter Carl Lewis. Only five other non-U.S. athletes have accomplished the feat.

"For me, it's the highest of highs because I've always looked at the Olympics as being the best that you could possibly get for women's basketball," Edwards reacted. "For me, it's the most important honor ever. To be in the company of Muhammad Ali and Wilma Rudolph, that's huge. It's kind of like, pinch me, because I still can't believe it."

Edwards played on the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Teams. Those teams combined to achieve a 31-1 record and the 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000 U.S. teams each went undefeated to claim Olympic gold. All told, Edwards was a member of 20 USA Basketball teams, including two World Championship gold medal teams, and overall, teams with Edwards as a member compiled a 189-13 win-loss record.

"There's too many memories from the Olympics to pick just one. I think the greatest has always been my first. You can never top the first time. Even though I did return, you can never top that feeling of everything being so wonderful and being the first time. I think '96 was huge because it changed the face of the women's game in the States. To be a part of the '96 team, that's probably my all-time greatest team. Just the magnitude of it all, every Olympics had an equal importance to me and the reason I was able to continue to go back. I have a lot of great memories, a lot of great coaches, I've had a lot of great teammates, a lot of great travel. Most of all, you can't top the feeling you get once you step on top of that podium and get that gold medal around your neck. That's the biggest, brightest moment an athlete can have," Edwards said.

The charter class of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was enshrined in 1983, with such Olympic legends as Cassius Clay, Peggy Fleming, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, and the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. Annual additions continued through 1992, adding Olympic legends such as Bart Conner, Dorothy Hamill, ”Sugar Ray” Leonard, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, and Mary Lou Retton.

In becoming the presenting sponsor of the induction ceremony, Allstate sparked the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame’s revitalization in 2004. During the company’s five-year tenure as a partner, the Hall of Fame has inducted numerous decorated Olympic athletes including: Bonnie Blair, Janet Evans, Florence Griffith Joyner, Dan Jansen, Kristi Yamaguchi, and the 1996 “Magnificent Seven” U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team. Following last June’s induction of the Class of 2008, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame currently consists of 213 distinguished athletes and 13 special contributors.
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