Gaines Going Into U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame

Chicago, Ill.--One of the top athletes in Auburn University history, Ambrose "Rowdy" Gaines, will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on Thursday night.

Gaines, who was a world record holder and the top swimmer in the world in his prime, won three gold medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He was unable to compete in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow when he was in his peak and would have had a chance to win as many as seven gold medals for the U.S. team, which was required to boycott the games by President Jimmy Carter.

Gaines, who was the 1981 SEC Athlete of the Year, frequently attends swimming events at Auburn where he serves as a public address announcer. He also does a variety of television work as a swimming analyst. He did that for NBC for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

During his exceptional career with the Tigers, he was an eight-time NCAA champion, who was named an All-American 22 times.

At the 1984 Olympics, Gaines won his gold medals in the 100 meter freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay. He trained under David Marsh, Auburn's current head coach, whose Auburn men's team is currently ranked No. 1 nationally and is the defending NCAA champion.

Gaines will become the 14th swimmer inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Gaines will be inducted with track star Evelyn Ashford, gymnast Shannon Miller and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, sprinter Bob Hayes (deceased) and Paralympian Diana Golden-Brosnihan (deceased).

The 1984 men's gymnastics team (Bart Conner, Tim Dagget, Mitch Gaylord, Jim Hartung, Scott Johnson, Peter Vidmar and alternate Jim Mikus) will be honored along with "Miracle on Ice" hockey coach Herb Brooks (deceased) and speedskater Jack Shea (deceased).

The event will be taped in Chicago and will be televised on NBC Jan. 1 from 1:30-3 p.m.

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