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Dan O’Brien inducted into IAAF Hall of Fame

MOSCOW, Idaho – Olympic gold medalist, former world record holder and former University of Idaho track and field athlete Dan O’Brien will be enshrined as an inaugural member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Hall of Fame, announced Wednesday.

O’Brien, a 2006 USA Track & Field Hall of Fame inductee and inaugural Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, is included among the 24 inaugural inductees into the IAAF Hall of Fame. The prestigious list includes athletic icons such as Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Michael Johnson.

The inaugural members of the Hall of Fame are being announced throughout the season and will be formally inducted on Saturday, November 24, at the IAAF Centenary Gala at Barcelona, Spain. The inductees represent every major event group in track and field.

The Hall of Fame officially was created on March 8, 2012 to mark the centennial year of the IAAF, the international authority in the sport of track and field which is based in the Principality of Monaco.

According to the IAAF’s official release, “Induction into the IAAF Hall of Fame must be seen as the crowning glory of an athlete’s career, the highest possible accolade which should rival any medal, trophy and award achieved. Membership must honour the truly outstanding athletes of our history who have been both multiple global champions and record breakers.”

O’Brien, the 1989 Big Sky Conference Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Year honoree, holds the Big Sky Conference all-time record in the decathlon (7,988) and Idaho school records in the 55m hurdles and decathlon. He was a 1989 indoor All-American in the 55m hurdles with a school-record 7.25 in a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

O’Brien’s 28 points at the 1989 Big Sky Indoor Championships stood as Idaho’s single-meet school record until this season, when Vandal decathlete Andrew Blaser scored 40 and led Idaho to the 2012 Western Athletic Conference title.

After his time at Idaho, O’Brien went on to win three world championships and a 1996 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon – the first by an American in the event in 20 years at the time. He held a record six No. 1 world rankings in the decathlon by Track & Field News. In 1993, he won the world championship in the indoor heptathlon with a world-record score of 6,476 that stood nearly 17 years to the day until 2010.

Idaho dedicated its track and field facility to “The World’s Greatest Athlete” in 1996 following his Olympic win, and re-dedicated the facility in 2012 after a complete renovation. The Vandal men’s team opened the track in grand fashion with a WAC team title in May.

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