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Posted: June 22, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: USATF to honor Washington as 2003 World Champion

EUGENE, Ore. - USA Track & Field on Saturday will recognize Tyree Washington for his athletic accomplishments as a clean athlete by presenting him with the men's 400-meter gold medal from the 2003 IAAF World Outdoor Championships.

USATF CEO Doug Logan will personally present the medal to Washington during evening competition at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.

"We are delighted to be able to present this long-overdue gold medal to Tyree," Logan said. "He was a clean athlete who achieved greatness the right way. It will be our honor to see him stand atop the podium, where he belongs."

2003 was the height of Washington's track career. He won the U.S. indoor, World Indoor and USA outdoor titles and entered the World Outdoor Championships in Paris as the favorite. In Paris, he was unfairly denied the gold medal, crossing the finish line behind Jerome Young, who later admitted to doping. It was Washington's only loss of the season.

In 2004, Young was banned for life from the sport, and on June 17, 2008, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that all of Young's results from January 1, 1999 onward would be stripped, thus making Washington the 2003 World Outdoor champion. Washington retired from the sport after competing at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, and the IAAF earlier this month sent USATF the 2003 World Outdoor gold medal to be awarded Washington.

"It's unfortunate that I couldn't enjoy the moment in Paris, but I will take my medal and title with open arms," Washington said upon his retirement last year. " I believe my calling is to educate and inspire the young athletes coming up. I will do my part to help keep drugs out of the sport and work towards having a clean playing field for all athletes."

A California state champion in the long jump as a high schooler in 1994, Washington was recruited as a football cornerback and attracted interest from several NFL teams. But it was track where he made his mark, first gaining international notice in 1997 when he was third at the World Outdoor Championships and anchored the gold-medal winning 4x400m Team USA relay. He finished that year ranked #2 in the world, behind only Michael Johnson. In 1998, he finished second at the USA Outdoor Championships behind the now-disgraced Young.

Injury and illness hobbled Washington the next three seasons. In early 2001, he ran his personal-best time of 44.28, the fastest by an American for the year, and his 44.47 at Mt. SAC was second-fastest. But a hamstring injury kept him from winning another national title.

Washington continued to compete through the 2008 Olympic Trials. In 2005, he won the World Athletics Final and was ranked #6 in the world. In 2006 he ran on the winning 4x400m relay at the World Indoor Championships.

For ticket information to the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com or www.tracktown.net. USATF welcomes you to purchase tickets with your Visa Card. Visa, the only credit card accepted by USATF.

For more information on the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships and the USATF Visa Championship Series, visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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