After a great year, Alyson Felix and Tyson Gay should be the focus of athlete of the year awards! Alyson focused her entire season on Osaka and was rewarded with three golds, and so did Tyson Gay, who was rewarded with three golds.
Two great examples of the quality of American athletics as we build to Beijing! I have attached a nice piece from USATF.org on Alyson and Tyson:
Felix and Gay finalists for 2007 Athlete of the Year
2007 Jesse Owens Award winners Allyson Felix and Tyson Gay are finalists for the 2007 United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year presented by USATODAY.com and MSNBC.com. Last year, the ballot attracted nearly half a million votes from around the globe.
Votes will be collected online from November 30- December 24. The ballot will be located on a website hosted by the Academy, which is currently available through a direct link from the USA Track & Field website at www.usatf.org.
At just 21 years old, Felix became the second woman in history to win three gold medals at a single World Outdoor Championships with her triumphs in Osaka, Japan. She first won the 200m in a personal-best 21.81 seconds. It was the fastest time by a woman since 1999 and was the largest margin of victory in World Outdoor history (.53). She then ran a decisive second leg on the winning 4x100m relay team, which clocked 41.98. In her final event of the World Championships, Felix clocked a 48.0 split in the 4x400m to move Team USA into a comfortable lead that propelled the Americans to a win in 3:18.55. It was the fastest time in the world since Team USA won the 1993 World title in 3:16.71 and perhaps the fastest 4x400m relay leg ever by an American woman at a major championship.
Felix ran the three 200m fastest times in the world in 2007 and five of the top eight fastest times by an American, including the 22.34 she ran to win the U.S. Outdoor Championships. She also was a strong contender in the 100 and 400. She set personal records in the 100 (11.01) and the 400 (49.70). During the Indoor season, Felix ran one race, the 300m at the Tyson Invitational, where she set an American best in winning in 36.33.
In 2007, Tyson Gay had an historic year, sweeping the 100 and 200 meters at both the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Osaka and the USA Outdoor Championships. He added World Outdoor gold in the 4x100m to become the fourth man in World Championships history to win three gold medals at a single championship. In Osaka, he won his first gold in the 100, blazing to a 9.85 victory to relegate world-record holder Asafa Powell to third. Gay then took down Michael Johnson's 200m meet record, coming from behind to win his second gold medal of the meet in 19.76. He finished his global trifecta by running the third leg on the winning men's 4x100m relay that won a nail-biter of a race in 37.78.
Gay had given notice of his prowess at the U.S. Outdoor Championships, cementing his status as the world's most dominant all-around sprinter with his meet record wins in the 100 (9.84, -.5m/s) and 200 (19.62, -.3m/s) in posting the fastest 100-200 double in history. Gay also came away from the meet with the men's Visa Championship as the top male performer of the Visa Championship Series.
This 2007 female ballot includes American swimmer Natalie Coughlin, Ethiopian runner Meseret Defar, Felix, Austrian skier Renate Goetschl, Belgian tennis star Justine Henin, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, Australian basketball player Lauren Jackson, Swedish heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft, Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa, Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen, American tennis great Venus Williams and American swimmer Kate Ziegler.
The 2007 male ballot includes Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, Swiss tennis great Roger Federer, Gay, Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James, NASCAR Champion Jimmy Johnson, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, American swimming star Michael Phelps and golf superstar Tiger Woods.
As in years past, the athlete receiving the most votes will be named the Academy's Athlete of the Year. Past winners include Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods. In addition to the overall winner, a Female Athlete of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year will be named from the athletes who receive the most votes, outside of the overall winner, in each of the respective categories.
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