U.S. Women’s National Team legend Kristine Lilly, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2012 unveiled by USOC
Legendary U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Kristine Lilly was part of the United States Olympic Committee’s unveiling of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2012 during a press conference at the Team USA Media Summit in Dallas on Sunday.
The Class of 2012 is partially determined by fan voting and is comprised of six Olympians, one Paralympian, one team, a coach, veteran and special contributor.
In addition to Lilly, the list of inductees includes Gail Devers (track and field), Jean Driscoll (Paralympic track and field), Gary Hall Jr. (swimming), Lisa Fernandez (softball), Dan O’Brien (track and field), Jenny Thompson (swimming), the 2004 U.S. Olympic Women’s Softball Team, Ed Temple (track and field coach), James Connolly (track and field veteran) and Ted Stevens (special contributor).
“This is an awesome honor and it’s very humbling to be in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame,” Lilly said. “I’ve seen so many wonderful athletes compete in the Olympics. I’ve played alongside a lot of them and watched even more, so to be honored by the USOC is amazing and I feel fortunate. As a young kid, I always dreamed of being in the Olympics and I watched all the sports in awe on TV. When I played in my first Olympics in 1996, I was definitely in awe. And then to be a part of three Olympic Games and win two gold medals are special experiences that I cherish and more than I ever dreamed of.”
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2012 will be formally introduced and honored on July 12 during an awards ceremony at the Harris Theater in Chicago. The ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Roberts and Alex Flanagan, will air in a nationally-televised broadcast on the NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET on Aug. 24.
Lilly is a three-time Olympian who solidified her legacy as one of the greatest female soccer players of all time. With two goals medals and one silver medal, Lilly started every Olympic match of her career and played all but 22 minutes in Olympic competition.
She assisted the first goal in the 1996 gold-medal victory against China and scored four goals during her Olympic Games experience, including a hat trick at the 2004 Athens Games against Greece. She captained the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2005-07 and was at the center of every key U.S. win in the first three Olympic Games featuring women’s soccer.
Second only to Mia Hamm, Lilly tallied 130 career goals and was named the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year in 1993, 2005 and 2006.
Lilly is best known for her longevity within the sport, holding the world record with 352 international appearances. She debuted for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1987 and played through 2010. Lilly is the only U.S. player to compete in four different decades, and she is the only person to play in five FIFA Women’s World Cups. She also holds the rare distinction of being both the youngest and oldest player ever to score for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The Class of 2012 is the 15th class to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and will bring the total membership to 96 Olympians, five Paralympians, 10 teams, four coaches, 10 veterans, 16 contributors and two Olive Branch Achievement Award inductees.