Felix, Oliver win 2010 Jesse Owens Awards


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Allyson Felix and David Oliver on Tuesday were named the winners of the 2010 Jesse Owens Awards by USA Track & Field. Oliver is a first time winner of the Owens Award and this marks the third time in her career that Felix has earned this prestigious distinction.

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 Award is named after National Track & Field Hall of Famer and worldwide track and field icon Jesse Owens, who won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, while at all times conducting himself with grace and dignity. With his remarkable performances, Owens forever destroyed Adolf Hitler's notions of Aryan supremacy.

This year's awards will be presented on Saturday, December 4 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Va. The event is held in conjunction with USA Track & Field's 2010 Annual Meeting.

"USA Track & Field is proud to congratulate Allyson and David on their amazing seasons and being named the winners of the 2010 Jesse Owens Awards," said USATF President and Chairman of the Board Stephanie Hightower. "All of us are anxious to watch Allyson, David and the rest of our great athletes as they look forward to next year's World Outdoor Championships in Daegu, and the 2012 Olympic Games in London."

Felix never ceases to amaze

With three World Outdoor Championship 200m gold medals and two Olympic Games silver medals in that event stashed safely away in her trophy case, Allyson Felix has proven to be one of the greatest ever in that event. Many athletes would be satisfied with that. Felix clearly is not.

Also recognized worldwide for her prowess in the 400 meters, highlighted by three top five world rankings and 4x400m relay gold medals at two World Outdoor Championships (2007 & 2009) and one Olympics (2008), Felix has also found success in the 100 meters.

Felix has been ranked in the top ten in the world in the 100 meters three times (#9 in 2005, #6 in 2006 & 2007) by Track & Field News, and she owns a 4x100m relay gold medal from the 2007 World Outdoor Championships. However, she made her biggest individual splash in that event this year at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, when she won the national title in 11.27 seconds.

Also in 2010, Felix won the inaugural IAAF Diamond League titles in the women's 200m and 400m, in becoming the only double champion in the history of the event. Her fastest 200m times last season of 22.03 and 22.14 were the second and third fastest times in the world, and her fastest 400m time of 50.15 from her win in Doha was the second-fastest by an American.

Felix, who won a gold medal in the 4x400m relay at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha, posted major wins in the 200m in Paris, Stockholm, London and Brussels, and 400m wins in Eugene, London, Doha and Zurich.

"Winning the Jesse Owens Award is a distinct privilege and to be recognized as the best American female track and field athlete is truly humbling," said Felix. "I hope that my winning this award will inspire young girls to follow their dreams."

Oliver's season of dominance

2008 Olympic Games 110m hurdles bronze medalist David Oliver turned in one of the most prolific seasons ever by a high hurdler, which culminated with him becoming the #3 performer all-time in his event.

Oliver became the world's best high hurdler in 2010 by winning nearly everything in sight and posting the five fastest times in the world (and 12 of the top 15 times globally) during the outdoor season, which included his pending American record 12.89 clocking from his win in Paris on July 16. Oliver's performance was the fourth-fastest time ever, and made him the third-fastest 110m hurdler of all-time trailing only world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba and former world record holder Liu Xiang of China.

Oliver's amazing season began indoors with his runner-up finish in the 60m hurdles at the USA Indoor Championships. He went on to post his personal best time and the fourth-fastest indoor clocking by an American that season of 7.44 when he won the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Doha.

As the temperatures got hotter in 2010 so did Oliver, who captured the USA Outdoor title for the second time in his career with a then personal best clocking of 12.93. The following weekend he equaled the then American record of 12.90 (set by Dominique Arnold in 2006) at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Oliver was unbeaten in 15 finals races during the outdoor season and won the inaugural IAAF Diamond League 110m hurdles title.

"Winning this award is one of the most outstanding accomplishments I have ever achieved," said Oliver. "When I look at the past winners of this award, and now I can add myself to that great legacy, is something I don't take for granted. I would like to thank the fans and the media for thinking so highly of my accomplishments this past season, enabling me to win this prestigious award."

About the Jesse Owens Award

The 2010 Jesse Owens Award winners were selected in balloting of members of the U.S. track and field media, and for the second time ever a fan vote was held on the USATF website that comprised 10% of the total vote. Other finalists for the men's Jesse Owens Award were Christian Cantwell, Tyson Gay, Bernard Lagat and Chris Solinsky. Women's finalists included Molly Huddle, Chaunte Lowe and Kara Patterson.

The permanent commemorative Jesse Owens Award is maintained at USATF National Headquarters, and a replica is provided to each of the winners. Previous winners 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, 1996), Michael Johnson (1994, 1995, 1996), Allen Johnson (1997), Marion Jones (1997, 1998), John Godina (1998, 2001), Inger Miller (1999), Maurice Greene (1999), Stacy Dragila (2000 and 2001), Angelo Taylor (2000), Khalid Khannouchi (2002), Deena Kastor (2003), Tom Pappas (2003), Justin Gatlin (2004 and 2005), Joanna Hayes (2004), Allyson Felix (2005, 2007, 2010); Sanya Richards (2006, 2009), Jeremy Wariner (2006), Tyson Gay (2007, 2009), Bryan Clay (2008), Stephanie Brown Trafton (2008) and David Oliver (2010).

For full biographies of Allyson Felix and David Oliver, visit the Athlete Bios section of www.usatf.org.