Devers, Hall lead US Olympic HOF class

Gail Devers, who won back-to-back gold medals in the 100-meter sprint, and five-time gold medalist swimmer Gary Hall Jr. were among a large group named as the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

The announcement was made on Sunday during the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit.

The newest Hall of Famers also included soccer player Kristine Lilly, softball player Lisa Fernandez and the entire 2004 U.S. team, decathlete Dan O'Brien, swimmer Jenny Thompson, track & field Paralympian Jean Driscoll, track & field coach Ed Temple, early track & field Olympian James Connolly and late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.

They will become the 15th class inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in an awards ceremony August 24 at the Harris Theater in Chicago, 12 days after the close of the London Games.

Devers, despite a battle with Graves disease, came back to win gold in the 100 meters at the 1992 Barcelona Games, then defended the Olympic title four years later in Atlanta. The five-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist is one of only two women to win back-to-back Olympic golds in the 100.

Both three-time Olympians, Hall earned five golds among his 10 medals while Lilly earned a silver and two golds as she started every Olympic match of her career.

Fernandez, a three-time gold medalist, was arguably the top star of a dominant 2004 softball team that outscored its opponents 51-1 in nine games to capture the gold in Athens. She was 4-0 as a pitcher and set the Olympic record with a .545 average at the plate.

"I am completely overwhelmed by this honor," said Fernandez. "I never thought that playing the game of softball that I love so much would allow me to reach this level of accomplishment. This is bigger than anything I have dreamed of.

"What we have been able to achieve as a sport is incredible, and there is no greater honor than being inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame."

O'Brien won the decathlon in 1996, setting a record that still stands, while Thompson collected 12 medals -- including eight golds -- to set a record for female Olympic swimmers.

Driscoll, born with spina bifida, won two Olympic medals, 12 Paralympic medals and holds the world record in the 10,000-meter track event.

Temple served as head coach of two U.S. Women's Olympic teams in 1960 and 1964, leading a group of athletes that amassed 23 medals.

Connolly was a four-time Olympic medalist who participated in the 1896 and 1900 Olympic Games.

Stevens was recognized for leading the charge to pass the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, appointing the U.S. Olympic Committee as the coordinating body for all Olympic-related athletic activity in the United States. He was killed in a 2010 plane crash while on a fishing trip in Alaska.