Olympic Water Polo Player Brenda Villa Named Finalist for U.S. Hall of Fame

U.S. women’s water polo player Brenda Villa is among 15 Olympians selected as finalists for the 2019 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame class.

Villa was a member of four U.S. water polo Olympic teams, winning gold in 2012 in London, silver in 2000 and 2008 and bronze in 2004. She was a part of three World Championships teams, winning gold medals in 2003, 2007 and 2009 and a silver in 2005. On the Pan American Games stage, Villa added three more gold medals to her trophy case (2003, 2007 and 2011). A 2010 FINA World Cup gold and seven FINA World League golds (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) also highlight her career.

Villa, who played collegiately at Stanford (1998-2002) earning an NCAA title and the Cutino Award for top collegiate water polo player, began her national team career in 1998. She led the Americans in goals at the 2000 Olympics (9) and 2004 Olympics (7) and also at the 2003 World Championships (13). Villa acted as team captain in 2005, leading Team USA to a silver medal at the World Championships.

Villa was named as FINA’s Women’s Water Polo Player of the Decade from 2000-2009.

Courtesy: United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced the finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame class of 2019, consisting of 15 Olympians, nine Paralympians and three teams. Team USA fans can cast their vote at TeamUSA.org/Vote from today through Sept. 3 to help determine the class of 2019, which will mark the first class inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame since 2012.

“It is a privilege to introduce these deserving finalists for induction into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame,” said Sarah Hirshland, USOPC CEO. “They represent the pinnacle of athletic achievement and personal excellence, both on and off the field of play. We honor them and are pleased to memorialize their legacy as America’s most inspiring athletes and teams.”

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame finalists for 2019 include:

Olympic

  • Gary Anderson, shooting
  • Greg Barton, canoe/kayak
  • Laura Berg, softball
  • Anne Donovan, basketball
  • Lisa Leslie, basketball
  • Nastia Liukin, gymnastics
  • John Mayasich, ice hockey
  • Misty May-Treanor, beach volleyball
  • Jonny Moseley, freestyle skiing
  • Apolo Anton Ohno, short track speedskating
  • Mark Reynolds, sailing
  • Angela Ruggiero, ice hockey
  • John Smith, wrestling
  • Dara Torres, swimming
  • Brenda Villa, water polo

Paralympic

  • Cheri Blauwet, track and field
  • Candace Cable, track and field, Nordic skiing, alpine skiing
  • Muffy Davis, cycling, alpine skiing
  • Bart Dodson, track and field
  • Greg Mannino, alpine skiing
  • Erin Popovich, swimming
  • Marla Runyan, Para track and field, Para-cycling, Olympic track and field
  • Chris Waddell, alpine skiing, track and field
  • Trischa Zorn, swimming

Team

  • 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team
  • 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team
  • 2010 U.S. Olympic Four-Man Bobsled Team

The finalists will be narrowed down to five Olympians, three Paralympians and one team for induction into the class of 2019. In addition to the public vote, U.S. Olympians and Paralympians and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family also vote on the inductees. The Olympic and Paralympic family consists of the Athletes’ Advisory Council, National Governing Bodies, Multi-Sport Organizations, USOPC board of directors, members of the media, and corporate partners.

“Congratulations to the athletes and teams being celebrated as finalists for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame,” said Dick Fosbury, U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association president. “These individuals have already achieved so much both on and off the field of play during their careers, breaking barriers and inspiring the next generation of athletes. On behalf of USOPA, we are honored to have these individuals represent the best of Team USA.”

Starting in 2019, the hall of fame will see increased Paralympic representation to reflect the burgeoning contributions of U.S. athletes to the Paralympic Movement, and now reflects the U.S. Team sizes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In addition to Olympians, Paralympians and a team, the class of 2019 will include two legends, one coach and one special contributor determined by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame nominating committee.

The class of 2019 will be announced on Monday, Sept. 23, and inducted on Friday, Nov. 1, during a ceremony in conjunction with the all-alumni U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Reunion in Colorado Springs. Red carpet arrivals, interviews and the induction awards dinner at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center will be open to the media; credential information will be available in October.

Opening in early 2020, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will become the new permanent home for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Visit TeamUSA.org/HallOfFame to explore the history and achievements of all 141-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 TeamUSA.org.

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 Games. The first U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1983 during a ceremony in Chicago and included Olympic greats such as Muhammad Ali, Bob Beamon, Peggy Fleming, Al Oerter, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Mark Spitz, Jim Thorpe and the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” men’s hockey team.

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cynthia curran

Why Dara Torres and Brenda Villa were only selected recently for the hall of fame.

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