Sterkel inducted into United States Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Longhorn legend Jill Sterkel was inducted into the United States Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame, Class of 2022, as part of the Women’s 4×100 Meter Freestyle Relay Swimming Team of 1976 Friday at the Olympic and Paralympic Museum of United States.
The class of 2022 is made up of eight individuals, two teams, two legends, a coach and a special contributor.
At age 15, Sterkel and teammates Kim Peyton, Wendy Bogliolo and Shirley Babashoff won gold in the women’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. En route to breaking the world record by nearly four seconds, the women’s team beat a team of what later turned out to be state-sponsored medically enhanced athletes from East Germany, during of the last event of the swimming program.
At those same Olympics, Sterkel placed seventh in the 100-meter freestyle and made the 200-meter freestyle heats.
Sterkel became the first woman selected to four U.S. Olympic swimming teams (1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988) and was elected team captain three times – 1980, 1984 and 1988. During her Olympic career, she won two gold medals. medals and two bronze medals in the freestyle and the relays.
Inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 2000, Sterkel competed for the Longhorns from 1979 to 1983, anchoring the 1981 and 1982 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national championship teams, winning 27 All-American honors and winning 16 individual championships. She was twice the recipient of the Honda Award as National Swimmer of the Year (1979-80 and 1980-81) and won the 1980-81 Honda-Broderick Cup as National Female Athlete of the Year .
Following her historic career as a swimmer at the University of Texas, the Hacienda Heights, Calif., native served as an assistant swimming and diving coach at UT from 1986-1991 before guiding the Longhorns to further success as a as head coach for 14 seasons (1992-2006). Sterkel led the Longhorns to eight consecutive Big 12 titles (1999-2006) and was named Big 12 Swim Coach of the Year six times en route to coaching two swimmers (Whitney Hedgepath and Erin Phenix) to the the Olympic team.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Class of 2022 also includes Natalie Coughlin (swimming), Muffy Davis (para-alpine skiing and para-cycling), Mia Hamm (soccer), David Kiley (para-alpine skiing, para-athletics and wheelchair basketball ), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Michael Phelps (swimming), Lindsey Vonn (alpine skiing), Trischa Zorn-Hudson (para-swimming), 2002 Paralympic Sledge Hockey Team, Gretchen Fraser (caption: alpine skiing), Roger Kingdom (legend: athletics), Pat Summitt (coach: basketball) and Billie Jean King (special contributor).
The Class of 2022 has represented the United States as athletes at 27 Olympic and Paralympic Games combined, totaling 129 medals, including 86 gold medals.
National governing bodies, alumni, current athletes and other members of the Olympic and Paralympic community have been invited to submit nominations. From there, a nominating committee made up of people from the Olympic and Paralympic movements narrowed it down to a set of finalists. The Class of 2022 was determined through a voting process that includes Olympians and Paralympians, members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Family, and online voting open to fans. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame was one of the first national sports halls of fame to include fan voting as part of its selection process, and this year more than 432,000 votes were cast on all platforms.