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Valien named Athlete of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS - Johnnye Valien has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week for her multiple record-setting performances at the 2011 WMA World Masters Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif.
Johnnye Valien
© Chris Stone   

Valien, an 85-year-old grandmother of seven from Los Angeles, Calif., highlighted the meet with world records in the W85 pole vault (1.25m/4-1.25) and long jump (2.21m/7-3). She also set American records in the W85 high jump (0.84m/2-9), triple jump (4.55m/14-11.25) and shot put (6.10m/20-3.75). Valien’s victory in the W85 javelin throw (1.62m/38-1) and second-place finish in the 100m (22.30) brought her medal count to six golds and one silver.

“It’s a real blessing,” Valien said. “I’m shocked and surprised. I knew I had the world record in the pole vault, but I didn’t know about the long jump.”

Next week, Valien will compete at USA Masters Outdoor Championships in Berea, Ohio.

“I only signed up for four events, not eight like I usually do,” she said. “Thursday, I will be going out to do a real hard workout, but I’m trying to avoid injury. I’m hoping to break the 85-89 records in something else.”

Now in its tenth year, USATF's Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on the USATF website. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

Winners: January 5, Bill Tribou; January 12, Tyler Sorensen; January 20, Josh Cox; January 26,Ben Shorey; February 2, Ashton Eaton; February 9, Ashton Eaton; February 16, Bernard Lagat; February 23, Ryan Crouser; March 2, Jillian Camarena-Williams; March 10, Bill Collins; March 16, Miles Batty; March 23, Shalane Flanagan; March 30, John Nunn; April 6, Aries Merritt; April 13, Gunnar Nixon; April 20, Desiree Davila; April 27, Nolan Shaheed; May 4, Emma Coburn; May 11, Willie Gault; May 18, English Gardner; May 25, Kibwé Johnson; June 1, Khadevis Robinson; June 8, Carmelita Jeter; June 15, Lukas Verzbicas; June 22, Aisling Cuffe; June 29, Trevor Barron; July 6, Aldrich Bailey; July 13, Jillian Camarena-Williams; July 20, Johnnye Valien

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