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International Gymnastics Hall of Fame Ceremony To Be Streamed on Facebook LIVE
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Four legendary gymnasts will be honored in Oklahoma City on May 20 at the 21st annual induction dinner for the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be broadcast LIVE on the International Gymnast magazine Facebook page beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

The class of 2017 features Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan), Shun Fujimoto (Japan), Alexei Nemov (Russia) and Alicia Sacramone (USA). After they are inducted on Saturday night, the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame will have grown to include 95 individuals from 22 nations.

2017 is the first year in which one of the inductees is still an active gymnast. At the Rio Games last summer, Oksana Chusovitina became the first gymnast to compete in seven consecutive Olympics. This year the 41-year-old Uzbek is competing on the World Cup circuit, winning vault in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Doha, Qatar.

Chusovitina, who has five skills named after her, has won 11 World Championship medals, including two individual golds, which were 12 years apart: floor exercise (1991) and vault (2003).

Shun Fujimoto will be honored for his courageous performances at the 1976 Montreal Games, where Japan had a chance to win five consecutive Olympic team titles. Trailing the USSR by 0.50 after compulsories, Japan began on floor exercise in optionals, where Fujimoto injured his knee on his dismount. His 9.55, however, replaced a 9.45 from Hisato Igarashi. He scored a 9.50 on pommel horse and later faced a daunting challenge on rings, where he would have to land his half-in half-out dismount from over eight feet in the air. He was up to the task. And although his dismount landing looked excruciating—"The pain was unexplainable," he said—he scored a personal best 9.70.

Unable to perform on the remaining three events, which meant no throwaway score on vault, parallel bars and high bar, his inspired teammates finished the job and defeated the USSR, 576.85-576.45.

Alexei Nemov made his World Championship debut in 1993 as a 16-year-old prodigy, and he fulfilled his potential with grace and character. At the 1996 Olympics he led Russia to its first, and still only, team gold following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He also left Atlanta with six Olympic medals. Four years later, he finally won a major all-around title at the Sydney Olympics, where he again won six medals.

As the defending Olympic high bar champion in Athens 2004, Nemov rose above the politics of the sport. After he scored a 9.725 for his six-release routine, the crowed booed and jeered the result. When his score was raised to 9.762, the revolt continued. That's when Nemov remounted the podium and politely thanked the crowd and gestured for them to quiet down, which they did. Nemov always saw the bigger picture.

Alicia Sacramone did not waste any time asserting herself on the international stage. In her first World Championships, in 2005 in Melbourne, she won the gold on floor exercise and the bronze on vault, where her dynamic handspring-rudi remains one of the best ever done. She won a team silver at the 2008 Olympics, and ended up with 10 World medals, the most by an American until Simone Biles collected 14 from 2013-15.

After tearing her Achilles' tendon prior to the 2011 Tokyo Worlds, Sacramone rehabbed the injury and made a run for a second Olympics in 2012. She was in amazing shape at the Olympic Trials but did not make the team. Throughout her career, however, she always represented her country with dignity.

Mike Jacki, President of USA Gymnastics from 1983-94, will receive the Frank Bare Award. An All-American gymnast at Iowa State, Jacki rescued the U.S. Gymnastics Federation, a not-for-profit organization that had a $700,000 deficit. Among his contributions during his tenure, he renamed the federation USA Gymnastics, introduced coaching safety certification, gained more than $10 million in annual revenues, and enjoyed the success of the American teams at the 1984 Olympics. He also saw Kim Zmeskal become the first American to win a World all-around title, in 1991, which was followed by Shannon Miller's back-to-back titles in 1993 and ’94.

The induction ceremony will be live streamed on the IG Facebook page from 7:30-10 p.m. CDT.

Read complete coverage of the Hall of Fame dinner in the June issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe or to order back issues, click here.

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