Boitano inducted into U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
Heiss, Fassi will also join elite group in Class of 2008
|Brian Boitano's gold medal-winning free skate at the 1988 Olympics is considered one of the best individual figure skating performances of all time. (Getty Images)|
"It is a great honor to be included in this accomplished group of athletes," Boitano said. "Winning the [Olympic] gold medal has given me so many opportunities, and I have always been appreciative of what skating has brought to my life."
Boitano captured the first of four consecutive U.S. titles in 1985 and went on to win two world championships (1986, '88). His performance in the free skate at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games is considered one of the greatest individual figure skating performances of all time and won him the gold medal. At the 1982 U.S. Championships, he became the first American skater to land a triple Axel. He has won more professional titles than any other competitor in the history of the sport, including six world professional championships.
Heiss Jenkins took home the silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, where she was runner-up to fellow American Tenley Albright. She followed that by capturing gold at the 1956 World Figure Skating Championships, defeating Albright for the first of her five consecutive world titles. From 1957-'60, she won four consecutive U.S. championships and was crowned Olympic champion at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif.
"I'm so thrilled to be inducted," Heiss Jenkins said. "It's great to be a part of the other figure skaters who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's such an honor."
Fassi moved to the United States and began his coaching career following the 1961 plane crash that killed the entire U.S. World Figure Skating Team, as well as many top American coaches. Fassi went on to coach five Olympic champions -- Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John Curry, Robin Cousins and Scott Hamilton -- as well as Olympians Jill Trenary and Paul Wylie. In 1997, while attending the world championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, as the coach of U.S. figure skater Nicole Bobek, Fassi suffered a fatal heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Christa von Kuczkowski, and three children, Riccardo, Monika and Lorenzo.
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2008 will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on June 19 in Chicago at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theatre and will be televised by NBC. The group is composed of nine Olympians, one Paralympian, an Olympic coach, a veteran, a team and a special contributor.