Tyson Gay, Katie Hoff, Jessica Galli, and U.S. Women’s World Championships Gymnastics Team Selected to Receive U.S. Olympic Committee Awards for 2007 Accomplishments; Michael Phelps and Allyson Felix to Receive New Outstanding Performance Awards
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Sprinter Tyson Gay (Lexington, Ky.), swimmer Katie Hoff (Abingdon, Md.), wheelchair track and field athlete Jessica Galli (Hillsborough, N.J.), and the U.S. Women’s World Championships Gymnastics Team have been selected as the 2007 United States Olympic Committee (USOC) SportsMan, SportsWoman, Paralympian and Team of the Year, respectively.
“As Team USA enters its final preparations for the Olympic Games in Beijing, we have seen outstanding achievements from many of our athletes this past year. And these individuals have truly demonstrated the strength and character of our athletes who will represent the United States in China,” said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “We are proud to announce this year’s recipients of SportsMan, SportsWoman, Paralympian, and Team of the Year.”
Sportsman of the Year Tyson Gay just may prove himself to be the fastest 100 meter, 200 meter combination runner in history. In 2007, he distinguished himself as the World Outdoor champion in the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 meters, becoming only the fourth man in World Championship history to win three gold medals at a single championship. With a time of 19.76 in the 200 meters, he set a new World Championship record and broke the previous record held by Michael Johnson. He also set U.S. Championship records this year in the 100 and 200 meters, previously held by Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson. In fact, in 2007 he ran five out of seven of the fastest times by an American in the 100 meters, and three out of four of the fastest times by an American in the 200 meters.
Katie Hoff was named SportsWoman of the Year in 2005 and has had another big year in 2007, including a triple-gold showing at the 2007 World Championships and a solid performance at the 2007 Conoco Phillips National Championships. In all, she earned a total of 11 medals in 2007, eight of them gold. She kicked off her appearance at Worlds in March with her first individual world record and a gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley. She also anchored the world record-setting 800-meter free relay team in Melbourne and collected her third gold in the 200-meter individual medley. In July, Hoff added three national titles to her list of 2007 accomplishments. She now holds nine career national titles.
Paralympian of the Year Jessica Galli is a wheelchair track and field athlete. She set a new mark in the 400 meters at the European Wheelchair Championships in Switzerland in June, then beat that time and set two more world records three weeks later for a total of three world records in the 200, 400, and 800 meters at Meet the Heat in Atlanta. She also earned a gold medal in the 800 meters at the U.S. Paralympics National Championships. Galli has been competing since 1998 and is a Paralympian of the 2000 and 2004 Paralympic Games.
Team of the Year honors are given to the U.S. Women’s World Championships Gymnastics Team, comprised of Ivana Hong (Blue Springs, Mo.), Shawn Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa), Nastia Liukin (Parker, Texas), Samantha Peszek (Indianapolis, Ind.), Alicia Sacramone (Winchester, Mass.), Shayla Worley (Orlando, Fla.) and reserve athlete Bridget Sloan (Pittsboro, Ind.). At the World Championships, the group won the USA’s second women’s team world gold medal in history. This is the first time the USA has won the team and all-around titles at the same World Championships. In second place going into the last event, they nailed their floor exercise routines to win the gold medal and beat gymnastics powerhouse China. In all, the team won seven medals (four gold, two silver and one bronze) for its most successful showing at a team World Championships. In addition to the team title, Johnson won the gold medal in the all-around and floor exercise, Liukin claimed the gold medal on balance beam and the silver on the uneven bars, and Sacramone earned the silver medal on floor exercise and the bronze on vault.
The USOC SportsMan and SportsWoman of the Year awards have been presented annually since 1974 to the top overall male and female athlete from within the USOC member organizations. The team award was added in 1996 and the Paralympian of the Year was awarded for the first time in 2004. Winners are selected from the individual female and male athlete of the year and team of the year nominations of the USOC and National Governing Bodies for the Olympic, Pan American, Affiliated and Disabled Sports Organizations within the U.S. Olympic Movement.
In addition to the SportsMan, SportsWoman, Paralympian and Team of the Year Awards, the USOC is recognizing for the first time one male and one female athlete as recipients of the Outstanding Performance of the Year award. This new honor was created to recognize an outstanding athletic performance at a single event, which could have occurred on a particular day or over a period of several days.
The recipients of the Outstanding Performance of the Year award were selected by the USOC’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief of Sport Performance and Chief Communications Officer after a review of all of the significant performances during the past year. For 2007, the USOC leaders selected swimming athlete Michael Phelps as the male recipient and track and field athlete Allyson Felix as the female honoree for their world championships accomplishments.
At the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, Phelps competed in seven events where he won gold in all. He was a part of the 400m free relay and 800m free gold medal-winning relay teams and was crowned champion of the 200m free, 100m fly, 200m fly, 200m IM and 400m IM individual events. Phelps outstanding performance at the World Championships included setting four individual world records and one team world record. As a result of his performance, Phelps became the winningest athlete in World Championship’s history.
Felix put on one of the greatest performances in track and field history at the 2007 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan. She won the 200m individual gold medal and was a part of the 4x100m and 4x400m championship relay teams. Felix’s efforts make her only the second woman in history to win three gold medals at a single track and field World Outdoor Championship. Her winning time in the 200m (21.81) was the fastest time by a woman since 1999 and was the largest margin of victory in World Outdoor history (.53 seconds). Her split time in the 4x400m relay (48.0) is believed to be the fastest ever by an American woman at a World Championships or Olympic Games, besting Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 48.2 at the 1988 Olympic Games.
“There were so many U.S. athletes who could have been honored for their performances in 2007, but when considering what was done by these two athletes at their respective world championships, this particular recognition is certainly warranted,” said Chief of Sport Performance Steve Roush.