MonteCarloOlympic champions and multiple record holders Mildred 'Babe' Didriksen, Michael Johnson and Dan O'Brien of the U.S. are the latest athletics legends to be included among the 24 inaugural Members of the IAAF Hall of Fame.
IAAF President Lamine Diack made the announcement in New York City's Times Square during a '100 Kids - 100 metres - 100 years' relay event to mark the Centenary year of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
President Diack was accompanied by IAAF Athlete Ambassador Tirunesh Dibaba, the reigning Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion, and they were joined by Dan O’Brien, who was the surprise guest of honour.
On Friday (8), President Diack will return to Times Square to ring the NASDAQ closing bell, an honour given to mark the IAAF Centenary and the work of the International Athletics Foundation of which he is also President.
Didriksen was the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic champion in the Javelin Throw and 80m Hurdles, and silver medallist in the High Jump, first equalling and then breaking the World record in the Hurdles, and also setting a World record along with the winner of the High Jump.
Johnson, regarded as the finest combination 200 and 400m sprinter of all time, won nine individual Olympic and World titles in the events. Johnson made history at the 1995 World Championships when he became the first man to win both events at a global championships, a feat he famously replicated a year later at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. A former World record holder at 200m, he has held the 400m World record since 1999.
A three-time World champion in the Decathlon, O'Brien is rightly considered one of the finest multi-event athletes in history. A former World record holder, O'Brien also won Olympic gold in 1996.
"It gives me immense pleasure to honour the historic records and achievements of Mildred Didriksen, Michael Johnson and Dan O'Brien," commented President Diack. "There can be few more iconic American locations than New York City’s Times Square and so today is a most appropriate occasion on which to announce the inclusion of three American greats, all-time legends of track and field athletics, among the inaugural members of the IAAF Hall of Fame."
To mark the IAAF Centenary, a total of 24 athletes will become inaugural Members of the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012, with the Official Induction Ceremony taking place at the IAAF Centenary Gala in Barcelona on Saturday 24 November 2012.
The first 12 names were announced in March, while in May Irena Szewinska’s inclusion was announced. Click on links for these previous announcements: