The 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic hockey team and the 1996 "Magnificent Seven" women's gymnastics squad will be reuniting in Rosemont Friday at the 45th annual Sports Collectibles Convention at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road.
The three-day event is expected to be the largest gathering of Olympians the suburb has ever seen.
"We've never had this many Olympians ever at the Chicago show," said Becky Batista, show coordinator for Florida-based Mounted Memories, which books celebrities for the convention. "It's the biggest gathering for us. Friday is the big day for Olympians," including 16 members of the 1980 Olympic hockey team.
The biannual show has been held in Rosemont for 20 years. Organizers expect roughly 6,000 people will come through the doors over the weekend.
Batista said she expects the biggest draws at this year's event will be the appearance of retired basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday; Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday; and former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Judging by ticket pre-sales, "I think 'Shaq' is going to be the big one," she said.
The event also will feature some famous Chicago Bears, including running back Matt Forte, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, and linebacker Brian Urlacher, 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Tickets have been available since September and sales are going strong, Batista said.
Presale tickets are available until noon Tuesday by calling (954) 742-8544. Tickets will be available at the door for the same price as presale tickets, but attendees should expect long lines, Batista said.
Daily admission cost is $10 for adults, and $5 for children under 7 years old. Show admission hours are: 4-9 p.m. for VIPs and 4:30-9 p.m. for general public, Friday, Nov. 16; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for VIPs and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. for general, Saturday, Nov. 17; and 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. for VIPs and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for general, Sunday, Nov. 18.
For information or a complete list of sports celebrities at the convention, visit mountedmemories.com.