INDIANAPOLIS – Beginning today and running through December 4, the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis, Mo., will play host to the 2011 USA Track & Field Annual Meeting. It will be the second time the meeting will be hosted in St. Louis as it was also there in 1994.
Traditionally held the week following Thanksgiving, the Annual Meeting creates a platform to bring together more than 1,000 of the sport’s officials, coaches, administrators, athletes and supporters. Among other things, the yearly gathering hosts discussions surrounding policy changes, selecting team staffs and national championship meet sites. Smaller meetings allow the opportunity for individual voices to be heard.
The Annual Meeting also serves as an ideal stage to honor award winners. Each year a new class is inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and presentations for year-end award winners including the Jesse Owens Awards are made.
The Annual Meeting officially kicks off Thursday with the Opening General Session, which is slated for 5 p.m. For specific highlights pertaining to the Annual Meeting please see below.
Blackmun to be keynote speaker at Welcome Reception
This year’s Welcome Reception will include a keynote address from United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun.
Blackmun, who was named CEO of the USOC in January of 2010, will be a timely keynote speaker as USATF and other National Governing Bodies prepare for the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games. Blackmun will discuss the importance of the continued positive relationship between USATF and the USOC and especially as both organizations begin an Olympic year. He will also detail the future goals for the USOC.
Market Street Mile adds unique touch to Annual Meeting
Specific to the 2011 Annual Meeting will be the USATF Market Street Mile, which is slated for 7:30 a.m. Saturday, December 3.
Being held in downtown St. Louis, the Market Street Mile will feature a series of age group races. Awards will be given to the top three finishers in each age group and a USA Track & Field spike bag to each participant.
Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Banquet
Also on the agenda will be the Jesse Owens Hall of Fame Banquet, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening. The banquet serves as a platform to announce standout performances in the sport both past and current. A list of six individuals will receive their inductions into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame along with the announcement of the Jesse Owens Awards for Athletes of the Year, the Nike Coach of the Year and the Visa Humanitarian of the Year.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame includes modern athletes Gail Devers and Maurice Greene, veteran athletes Vince Matthews and Clarence Demar and coaching legend Bob Timmons. Craig Virgin, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, deferred his induction until this year and will be inducted as one of the modern athletes.
Winning the yearly awards include Jesse Williams and Carmelita Jeter as the Jesse Owens Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Bryan Clay will be named Visa Humanitarian of the Year and Rana Reider will be named the Coach of the Year. Ajeé Wilson will be named the Youth Athlete of the Year, while Christine Kennedy takes the same honor for the masters category.
USATF Exhibitor Expo
As is the case each year, beginning today the 2011 Annual Meeting will feature an exhibitor expo, which features exhibits from everyone ranging from convention and visitors bureaus to equipment and technology suppliers.
Exhibitor Expo schedule
Wednesday, November 30 (noon until 5 p.m.)
Thursday and Friday, December 1-2 (8 a.m. until 5 p.m.)
Saturday, December 3 (8 a.m. until noon)
For more information regarding the 2011 USATF Annual Meeting please visit www.usatf.org