INDIANAPOLIS - Tyson Gay and Sanya Richards were voted the winners of the 2009 Jesse Owens Awards by members of the U.S. track and field media, along with track fans who voted for their favorites in the first-ever Jesse Owens Athletes of the Year Fan Vote presented by Nike.
The fan vote was featured on the USATF website (www.usatf.org.), and comprised 10 percent of the official tally for the 2009 Jesse Owens Awards. Gay and Richards will receive their awards December 5 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which is held in conjunction with USA Track & Field's 2009 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, December 2-6.
The Jesse Owens Awards were established in 1981 as a tribute to the man whose accomplishments are forever enshrined in sports history. It is USA Track & Field's highest accolade, and is presented annually to the individuals selected through a nominating and voting procedure as the outstanding American performers of the year in Athletics.
Fans voted for the following candidates for the 2009 Jesse Owens Awards. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Men - Christian Cantwell, Kerron Clement, Tyson Gay, Trey Hardee, Bernard Lagat, LaShawn Merritt and Dwight Phillips.
Women - Jenny Barringer, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Brittney Reese and Sanya Richards.
Over a one-week period, fans cast more than 18,000 votes with Gay and Richards winning by overwhelming margins.
The top two randomly selected prize winners of the fan vote contest, Patricia Vires of Euless, Tex., and Rick Stetson of Duxbury, Mass., each received the ultimate prize package, which included a Team USA medal stand warm-up, Team USA shirt autographed by members of the 2009 World Championship Team and a USATF/Nike spike bag and hat.
Four additional randomly selected participant winners received a USATF/Nike spike bag and hat. Those winners were Arthur Sherry of Victor, N.Y., Mandy Matzen of Davenport, Iowa, Hrvoje Sliskovic of Croatia, Europe and Patti Kimura of North Hill, Calif.
"I heard about the vote because I am an alumnus from Texas and it was posted on the UT website," said ultimate prize package winner Patricia Vires. "I saw the former UT athletes Sanya Richards and Trey Hardee were candidates and I said, 'Hey, I watched them in the Olympics and I will support them with my vote. That is so cool."
For more information on the 2009 Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Fan Vote presented by Nike, including the complete rules, visit: USATF.org.
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.