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Devers, Greene lead Hall of Fame Class of 2011

11/1/2011
 

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field announced Tuesday the selection of all-time track and field greats Gail Devers, Maurice Greene, Vince Matthews, and Clarence Demar, along with standout coach Bob Timmons, into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.

The five will be inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, along with 2010 Hall selection Craig Virgin, on Saturday evening, December 3, at the Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be held in conjunction with 2011 USATF Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Mo.

USATF today (Tuesday) will host a teleconference with Devers, Greene, Matthews and Virgin. For dialing information and specifics, see the bottom of this announcement.

Devers, Greene selected as “moderns”
Devers, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, Greene, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder, and Virgin, a two-time World Cross Country individual champion, all made the Hall of Fame as Modern Athletes, which include those retired less than 25 years. Virgin was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, but deferred his induction until this year when the Annual Meeting was scheduled to take place in St. Louis, near his current hometown.

Matthews, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Demar, a seven-time winner of the Boston Marathon, will be inducted as Veteran Athletes as each has been retired for longer than 25 years.

Timmons, who coached seven Olympians, 16 world record holders and mentored Jim Ryun to the first sub-4-minute high school mile, will be inducted representing the Coaches.

The National Track & Field Hall of Fame is located at The Armory Foundation, at 216 Fort Washington Avenue in Washington Heights, N.Y. For more information please visit http://ny.milesplit.com/pages/Hall-of-Fame

About the National Track & Field Hall of Fame

The finalists from each category are selected by a committee from a list of nominations. Members of the selection committees examine the nominations and evaluate their merit based on a set of criteria. Elections for Modern and Veteran athletes are held each year. Elections for Coaches are held in odd numbered years with Contributors elected in even numbered years. Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame Board and Committees and members of the media all vote on elections for the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.

Class of 2011 biographies
Modern Athletes

Gail Devers
Born: November 19, 1966

The career of Gail Devers was one of perseverance and dominance in women’s track and field. A career that saw her compete until the age of 40, Devers is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and 13-time World Indoor and Outdoor medalist. In 1991, near the beginning of her career, Devers was diagnosed with Graves Disease and began radiation treatment as doctors threatened to amputate her feet. Devers recovered to become one of the most dominant sprinters and hurdlers of her time. She won the 1992 Olympic gold medal in the 100m along with gold medals in the 100m and 4x100m in 1996. At the World Outdoor Championships she won three gold medals in the 100m hurdles (‘93, ‘95, ‘99) along with a gold medal in the 100m in 1993 and 4x100m in 1997. She won World Indoor Championships gold three times in the 60m (‘93, ‘97, ‘04) and one in the 60m hurdles (‘03). In 2007, at the age of 40, Devers won the 60m hurdles at the Millrose Games in 7.86 seconds, which was the fastest time in the world that year. A 10-time USA Outdoor 100m hurdles champion, she is a two-time winner of the ESPY for Women’s Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

Maurice Greene
Born: July 23, 1974

Already a world champion, Maurice Greene became one of the all-time greats when he establish a world 100m record of 9.79 in 1999. From that point, Greene would collect four Olympic medals (two gold) and another six World Championships Indoor and Outdoor gold medals. 1999 was a breakthrough season for Greene. He won three gold medals at the World Outdoor Championships (100m, 200m, 4x100m) and the 60m gold medal at the World Indoor Championships. The world indoor record holder at 60 meters, he traveled to Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games and came home with gold in both the 100m and 4x100m. Perhaps his most memorable race occurred at the 2001 World Outdoor Championships when he injured his leg 60m into the final race and yet held on for the win. The injury nearly ended the brilliance of his career, but at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens Greene he added a silver medal in the 4x100m and bronze in the 100m. By career’s end, Greene ran under 10 seconds in the 100m a total of 53 times, which was more than any other sprinter in history at that time. After retirement, he was known for competing in the seventh season of Dancing with the Stars.

Craig Virgin
Born: August 2, 1955

In the late 1970s and early 1980s Craig Virgin established himself as one of the best distance runners in the the world. His most impressive accomplishment was becoming the only American to win an individual World Cross Country championship, which he did twice (‘80, ‘81). The 1976 NCAA Cross Country champion, Virgin set seven U.S. national records on the roads and in track events. Virgin broke Steve Prefontaine’s national high school two-mile record before attending the University of Illinois. At Illinois, he won nine Big Ten Conference championships and eventually became the only American to qualify three times for the Olympic Games in the 10,000m (‘76, ‘80, ‘84). A three-time USA Outdoor champion (‘78, ‘79, ‘81) and 1980 Olympic Trials champion, Virgin broke Prefontaine’s American 10,000m record at 27:39.4 in 1979, which was also the second-fastest time ever run in the world at that time. Virgin is also a member of the National Distance Running Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

Veteran Athletes

Vince Matthews
Born: December 16, 1947

One of the more prominent long sprinters of his generation, Vince Matthews won a pair of Olympic gold medals in his career. Developing a fierce competition with Lee Evans in the 400m, Matthews was a member of the 1968 gold medal 4x400m relay, which established a world record of 2:56.16. It was a record that would stand for 24 years. Matthews was at his best in 1968. At a warmup meet prior to the Olympic Trials, he broke the world record in the 400m by running 44.4, but the time was not allowed due to his use of brush spikes. However, it was his performance during and following his gold medal run in the 400m at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich that most people remember. Following his gold medal race, in a continuation of the civil rights protests of John Carlos and Tommie Smith from 1968, Matthews and teammate Wayne Collett, who had won silver, paid little attention to the American flag and were visiting with one another during the playing of the national anthem at the medal ceremony. For their actions, both athletes were banned from Olympic competition by the IOC and therefore unable to defend their gold medal in the 4x400m. Matthews attended Johnson C. Smith University. 

Clarence Demar
Born: June 7, 1888; Died: June 11, 1958

Until the day he died, Clarence Demar never quit running or quit fighting. In 1910, he was advised by doctors to give up running because of a heart murmur. That was one year before Demar won his first of a record seven Boston Marathons, a record that still stands today. He competed in a total of 33 Boston Marathons with his final one coming at the age of 65. His first Boston Marathon victory came in 1911 and his final win was in 1930. An athlete far ahead of his time, Demar was known for weekly running from Keene, N.H., to Boston and back, which was a total of 90 miles. For the past 33 years, Keene has hosted the Clarence Demar Marathon. In addition to his feats in Boston, Demar was the bronze medalist in the marathon at the 1924 Olympic Games. He also qualified for the 1912 Olympic Games. He was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2000.


Coach

Bob Timmons

Few people influenced more athletes than Bob Timmons. When his Hall of Fame career finally came to an end, Timmons had coached seven Olympians, 16 world record holders, 77 NCAA All-Americans and 24 NCAA champions. One of his more famous protégés included Jim Ryun, who he coached at Wichita East High School and at the University of Kansas. Under Timmons’ tutelage, Ryun, in his junior season, became the first high school runner ever to break four-minutes in the mile. Timmons then left for the track and field program at his alma mater of Kansas where his career spanned 22 seasons and included four NCAA championships, 13 Big 8 indoor conference titles, 14 outdoor conference titles and four cross country conference titles. At the high school level, Timmons won 17 state titles in swimming, cross country and track and field. Always expecting the most from his athletes, Timmons is also a member of the University of Kansas Hall of Fame, the Drake Relays Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas High School Activities Hall of Fame and the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame.

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USA Track & Field will host a national media teleconference TODAY (Tuesday, November 1) featuring Vince Matthews and Craig Virgin at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and Gail Devers and Maurice Greene at 1:30 p.m. (ET).

WHO:           Craig Virgin and Vince Matthews (1:00 p.m. ET)
                     Gail Devers and Maurice Greene (1:30 p.m. ET)
WHAT:         USA Track & Field teleconference
WHEN:         Today, Tuesday, November 1, 1:00 p.m. (ET)
DIAL-IN:       800-791-2345
Pass code:   81372


Jared Slinde
Communications Manager
USA Track & Field
317.713.4690
e-mail

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