College Sports

Craig Virgin selected to inaugural Fighting Illini hall of fame class

Former Olympian Craig Virgin discusses missing out on the 1980 Olympics

Lebanon resident missed out on 1980 Olympics in Russia due to U.S. boycott of the games.
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Lebanon resident missed out on 1980 Olympics in Russia due to U.S. boycott of the games.

Belleville native Craig Virgin will be a part of the inaugural University of Illinois Hall of Fame class, the university announced Thursday.

Virgin joins Illinois legends Red Grange, Dwight “Dike” Eddleman, Dick Butkus and Dee Brown in the 28-person class that will be inducted Sept. 30 at State Farm Center. The class will be introduced during an event in Chicago in June.

Virgin, who starred for the Fighting Illini cross country team from 1973-77, won nine Big Ten championships and was the 1975 NCAA cross country champion. He qualified for the the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympic games in the 10,000 meters and is the only American man to win the IAAF World Cross Country Championships — and he did that twice.

He is a member of both the National Distance Running Hall of Fame and the National USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.

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