Dragila, Godina win 2001 Jesse Owens Awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field
MOBILE, Alabama - World champions Stacy Dragila and John Godina on Tuesday were named recipients of the 2001 Jesse Owens Awards by USA Track & Field (USATF). It is the second such honor for both athletes, placing them among a select, elite group of two-time winners that includes only Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Marion Jones, Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson. Dragila won the Jesse Owens Award in 2000, and Godina was the recipient in 1998.
"I was honored to win the Jesse Owens Award last year, but to win it two years in a row is very humbling," Dragila said, "especially as it is named in honor of one of the greatest athletes ever. I can't believe it. It's wonderful."
"I'm very excited," Godina said. "Obviously, winning my first Jesse Owens Award was fun, but to win two is unbelievable. The whole goal when I started in this sport was to have a stellar career, not just a good year or two. I figure I'm about half-way done with my career, so to have two Jesse Owens Awards is great. This was a pleasant surprise."
Established in 1981, The Jesse Owens Award is USA Track & Field's highest accolade, presented annually to the outstanding U.S. male and female track and field performers. The permanent commemorative award is maintained at USATF National Headquarters, and a replica is provided to each of the winners.
The 2001 Awards will be presented November 30 at the Jesse Owens Awards Dinner and Xerox Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held at USA Track & Field's 2001 Annual Meeting in Mobile, Alabama. Jesse Owens Awards voters included USA Track & Field's Board of Directors, USATF's Athletes Advisory Committee, the 2001 USA World Outdoor Championships Team, members of the Track and Field Writers of America and additional members of the media.
"Stacy and John were two of the most dominant athletes in the world in 2001," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "But they faced some of their toughest competition from fellow Americans, right here on U.S. soil. We had an incredibly strong group of nominees for the Jesse Owens Award this year, and Stacy and John certainly earned this honor."
Nominated for the Jesse Owens Award on the men's side, in addition to Godina, were 2001 world outdoor champions Maurice Greene and Allen Johnson, and high school record holder Alan Webb. Dragila beat out fellow nominees and world champions Marion Jones and Anjanette Kirkland, and dominant American distance runner Deena Drossin.
"I was fortunate enough to see John and Stacy compete at their biggest events of 2001," said USATF President Bill Roe. "Just as impressive as their performances is the way they represent the United States and the sport. It is a genuine pleasure to see them win the Jesse Owens Awards for a second time."
Previous winners of the Jesse Owens Award are Edwin Moses (1981), Carl Lewis (1982 and 1991), Mary Decker (1983), Joan Benoit (1984), Willie Banks (1985), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986 and 1987), Florence Griffith Joyner (1988), Roger Kingdom (1989), Lynn Jennings (1990), Kevin Young (1992), Gail Devers (1993 and 1996), Michael Johnson (1994, 1995 and 1996), Allen Johnson (1997), Marion Jones (1997 and 1998), John Godina (1998), Inger Miller (1999), Maurice Greene (1999), Stacy Dragila (2000), Angelo Taylor (2000).
Eight world records in the women's pole vault wasn't enough for Stacy Dragila in 2001 - she also added her second World Championships title, sixth U.S. indoor crown and fifth U.S. outdoor title in the span of just a few months.
Proving that she is still the master of the women's pole vault, Dragila broke the world indoor record in her event on four occasions - peaking at 4.70m/15-5 - during the 2001 indoor campaign before claiming her sixth U.S. Indoor title with a clearance of 4.56m/14-11.5. She broke her own outdoor world record four times, topping out at 4.81m/15-9.25 at the Peregrine Systems U.S. Open on June 9. She went on to win her fifth U.S. Outdoor title (4.62m/15-1.75), first Goodwill Games gold medal (4.55m/14-11) and the IAAF Grand Prix Final title (4.50m/14-9).
Dragila successfully defended her 1999 World Outdoor Championships crown by winning in Edmonton with a clearance of 4.75m/15-7, a new Championships record, in what many consider to be the greatest women's pole vault competition in history. In 2001 she has been named Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Track & Field News, as well as being tapped as the Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year.
Stacy Dragila career highlights: 2000 Olympic gold medalist; Two-time world champion ('99, '01); 1997 world indoor champion; 6-time U.S. indoor champion ('96-'01); 5-time U.S. outdoor champion ('96, '97, '99, '00, '01); World record holder; Two-time Jesse Owens Award winner ('00, '01)
John Godina had a dominant year in 2001, winning the World Indoor title, the World Outdoor crown and the U.S. Outdoor title. In March, he bounced back from a runner-up showing at the Pontiac Grand Prix U.S. Indoor Championships to win his first World Indoor shot put gold medal with a throw of 20.82 meters/68 feet, 3.75 inches.
Outdoors, Godina was nearly perfect. At the Peregrine Systems U.S. Open June 9 at Stanford, he had what many consider the best single-day double in the shot put and discus in history, winning the shot at 21.95m/72-0.25 (2nd best in the world this year) and placing second in the discus (67.06m/220-0). His shot put series included a staggering five throws over 70 feet. In June, Godina won his third U.S. Outdoor shot put title at the GMC Envoy USA Outdoor Championships and placed second in the discus. He went on to win his third World Outdoor title in the shot with a throw of 21.87m/71-9 - a win he considers the best and most satisfying of his three world titles. At season's end, Godina owned four of the top six shot put performances in the world in 2001.
John Godina career highlights: Three-time world outdoor champion ('95, '97, '01); 2001 world indoor gold medalist; 1996 Olympic silver medalist; 2000 Olympic bronze medalist; Two-time world indoor silver medalist ('95, '97); Two-time Jesse Owens Award winner ('98, '01)
NOTE TO THE MEDIA: USATF will host a media teleconference on Friday, November 30, with 2001 Jesse Owens Awards winners Stacy Dragila and John Godina. The time and details of the teleconference will be announced on Wednesday.