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Johnson, Conway lead USATF 2015 Hall of Fame class

9/15/2015
 
INDIANAPOLIS – Olympians and record breakers comprise the 42nd National Track & Field Hall of Fame induction class, featuring modern athletes Allen Johnson and Hollis Conway; veteran athletes Ralph Mann, Al Blozis and Jack Torrance; and coach Harry Gill, USA Track & Field announced Tuesday.
 Allen Johnson
The group will be honored Thursday evening, Oct. 29, at USATF’s Black Tie & Sneakers Gala, hosted at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City. Proceeds from the event support the USATF Elite Athlete Mentorship Program, a new USATF initiative preparing athletes for success after the conclusion of their competitive careers. For tickets, click here.
 
An Olympic champion, four-time World Outdoor champion and former world record holder, Allen Johnson is one of the most decorated 110-meter hurdlers of all-time. A two-time Olympic medalist, Hollis Conway is the reigning American record holder in the high jump.
 
Ralph Mann won silver in the 400mH at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and is actively engaged in the sport as one of the world’s premier sport scientists. Shot put legends Jack Torrance, who set three world records, and Al Blozis, who dominated the world list, join Mann as veteran athlete inductees.
 
Inducted as a Hall of Fame coach is Harry Gill, who organized the very first NCAA championship in any sport before leading the University of Illinois to a combined 22 Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
 
The National Track & Field Hall of Fame is located at The Armory, at 216 Fort Washington Avenue in Washington Heights, N.Y. For more information please visit http://www.armorytrack.com/Armory/national-track-and-field-hall-of-fame.
 
Biographies for each candidate are below.
 
Modern Athlete Inductees
 
Allen Johnson
Born: March 1, 1971
 
Allen Johnson, a native of Washington, D.C., is one of the most decorated 110-meter hurdlers of all time. His illustrious career includes four World Championships, three World Indoor titles (60mH), seven national outdoor titles (four of them in consecutive years from 2000-2003), four national indoor titles, a 14-year streak of global top-10 rankings, and an Olympic gold medal from the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Ranked No. 1 by Track & Field News for four years, Johnson ran a record 11 races under 13 seconds. While competing collegiately for the University of North Carolina, he won the 1992 NCAA Championship in the 55mH in a meet-record of 7.07. As a Tar Heel, Johnson set an ACC long jump record and was a four-time conference champion. He still holds school records in the 55mH and 110mH, as well as both indoor and outdoor marks in the long jump. Following his retirement, Johnson coached at both Air Force and the University of South Carolina before taking on his current position as an assistant at the University of Kentucky, where he specializes in sprints, hurdles, horizontal jumps and relays. Johnson in 1997 won USATF’s Jesse Owens Award, which annually recognizes the top male athlete of the year, and he received the USATF/Visa Humanitarian Award in 1999 after leading a successful fundraiser for a new track surface at his former high school.
 
Hollis Conway  
Born: January 8, 1967
 
Hollis Conway is the reigning American indoor record holder in the high jump and is a two-time Olympic medalist after clearances of 2.35m/7-8.75 for silver at the 1988 Games in Seoul, Korea, and 2.34m/7-8.5 for bronze at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. In 1989, he broke two American records, jumping 2.38m/7-9.75 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and 2.39m/7-10 at the U.S. Olympic Festival. Indoors, he set the current American record of 2.40m/7-10.5 in 1991 to win gold at the World Indoor Championships in Seville. A six-time NCAA All-American and three-time NCAA champ at Southwestern Louisiana State (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), his NCAA outdoor record of 2.38m/7-9.75 from 1989 still stands, as does his mark of 2.36m/7-9.25 at that year’s NCAA indoor meet. He was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for seven straight years from 1988-94, with back-to-back World No. 1 rankings from 1990-91. Conway recorded 76 jumps over 2.29m/7-6.5, 29 jumps over 2.33m/7-8 and an astounding three jumps over 2.38m/7-10. Conway is now a motivational speaker, making appearances at school assemblies, corporate meetings and a multitude of church events.
 
Veteran Athlete Inductees
 
Ralph Mann
Born: June 16, 1949
 
Ralph Mann became a silver medalist in the 400mH at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich after winning Pan American Games gold in 1971 at Cali, Colombia. A four-time AAU champion (1969-71, 1975), Mann also finished first at the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials in 48.4 seconds. He is the first of only two men to win three straight titles in the 400mH at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where he recorded consecutive victories from 1969-71. At the 1970 NCAA meet in Des Moines, Mann broke the world record, running 48.8 in the 440-yard hurdles for Brigham Young University. Following a tenured teaching and research career at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Mann began a consulting career that specialized in sports performance analysis. In 1982, Dr. Mann was intimately involved in creating a sport science program within the high performance ranks of USA Track & Field, and he is a longtime contributor to the program, focusing on using biomechanical analysis on elite sprinters and hurdlers to evaluate and improve their performances. Dr. Mann earned an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Physical Education from Brigham Young University prior to completing a Ph.D Biomechanics at Washington State University.
 
 
Al Blozis  
Born: January 5, 1919; Died: January 21, 1945
 
Shot putter Al Blozis was a two-sport star on the track and football field, but his career was tragically cut short by World War II. Blozis dominated the shot put as a student-athlete at Georgetown University from 1940-42, winning AAU and NCAA Outdoor titles three years in a row and adding AAU indoor crowns in all during the same period. He also dominated the world list, and had a best of 17.61m/57-0.75. With the cancellation of the 1940 Tokyo Games, Blozis missed his chance at Olympic glory, but he went on to play in the NFL for the New York Giants, achieving All-Pro status as a tackle. Lieutenant Al Blozis was killed in action on January 21, 1945, in Belgium.
 
Jack Torrance
Born: June 20, 1912; Died: November 10, 1969
 
Jack Torrance set three shot put world records, capped by a massive throw of 17.40m/57-1 in Oslo, Norway, a mark that stood for 14 years until 1934. Torrance won three AAU national outdoor titles from 1933-35, the first two while a student at LSU, and he took gold at both the 1933 and 1934 NCAA Championships, setting a meet record both years. Torrance won the Olympic Trials in 1936 and placed fifth at the Berlin Games. He played 15 games for the NFL’s Chicago Bears from 1939-40.
 
Coach Inductee
 
Harry Gill
Born: January 9, 1876; Died: August 31, 1956
 
A former multi-event athlete and discus world-record holder, Harry Gill coached at the University of Illinois. In 1921 he organized the very first NCAA championship in any sport, and his Illini won the inaugural event in addition to a second title in 1927. Gill eventually led his collegians to a combined 22 Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships, amassing a winning record of 111-24 (.822) during his coaching career. Under Gill, Illinois athletes appeared at the Paris 1924 Olympic Games, where they scored more points than any every other nation’s entire team. Gill began coaching at Beloit College in Wisconsin before he was hired as the head track coach at Illinois until a 1921, taking a brief break before returning to conclude his career with the Illini from 1931-33. In 1918, he founded Gill Athletics, the track & field equipment company, with a simple ash javelin. By 1922, his enterprise had become so successful that he was able to offer a full line of track & field equipment, and the company is ubiquitous in the sport today.
 
About USATF
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.
 
 
 
About the National Track & Field Hall of Fame
The finalists from each category are selected by a screening panel from a list of nominations. Panelists examine the nominees and evaluate their merits. Elections for modern and veteran athletes are held each year. Elections for coaches are held in odd-numbered years with contributors elected in even-numbered years. Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame board and panels, and members of the media vote on elections for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.


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