Olympic Hall of Fame inducts top athletes

August 13, 2009 4:32:38 AM PDT
Some of the country's top athletes were honored in Chicago Wednesday night at the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Among the athletes in town were Scottie Pippen and David Robinson.

The event doubled as a hall of fame ceremony and as well as the last fundraiser for the 2016 bid before the announcement in October.

Over 3,600 people attended the event on Wednesday night to raise $5 million.For the athletes, it was a time to honored and look back at their impressive careers.

Professionally, they were opponents, but for a few weeks back in the summer of 1992 some of the greatest basketball players of all time were teammates.

"Being part of the first Dream Team was an unbelievable experience for me," said Christian Laettner, Dream Team member.

Christian Laettner was only 22 when he got to play with Magic, Larry, Scottie, Michael and others on a team many say was the best put together for Olympic competition. The Gold Medal Dream Team still draws the star power as members were in Chicago on Wednesday to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

"This means a lot to me to be able to do something very special with a bunch of great players that was able to really pave the way for me and the game," said former Bull Scottie Pippen.

"Having all of these unselfish guys playing at such a high level every day. It was, I guess it's the purest form of basketball that I would have ever been part of," said David Robinson.

The Dream Team shared the spotlight with several other Olympic athletes, including swimmer Mary Meagher, a three-time Olympic Gold medalist.

"It means the world to me. For a swimmer, this is probably the highest award that you can be given," said Meagher.

Wednesday night' event also had a very important purpose: to raise money for the Chicago 2016 bid. It was the biggest and last fundraiser before October's announcement.

It was Hall of Fame inductee and paralympic skier Sarah Will's first trip to Chicago.

"It looks amazing and it's clean and the people are nice and the transportation is wonderful. And if that works now, it's going to work then," said Will.

The announcement for the 2016 games will be in 50 days. The winning city will be chosen on October 2 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

There were no protests outside the event as there have been in past events.

Chicago Mural features Hall of Fame athletes

Clyde Drexler, of the 1992 Dream Team, was inducted into the Olympics Hall of Fame on Wednesday night and is featured on the three-dimensional mural.

The mural was created by chalk artist Tracy Lee Stum. Clyde Drexler, who was a member of the Dream Team, was present for the unveiling.

The athletes inducted are Michael Johnson (athletics), Picabo Street (skiing), Teresa Edwards (basketball), Willye White (athletics, Mary T. Meagher (swimming), 1992 Men's Basketball Team, Andrea Mead-Lawrence (skiing veteran) and Sarah Will (Paralympian alpine skier).

The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2009 covers athletes from 21 games who brought home 46 medals.

The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was revived by Allstate in 2004. Wednesday's event was sponsored by the company and Chicago 2016.


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