Syracuse Online

USATF Annual Meeting

USATF Births Mascot

Published December 23, 2002 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

USA Track and Field, the national governing body for track & field, distance running and racewalking, held its 2002 annual meeting in Kansas City earlier this month. Highlights of the meeting included unveiling a new mascot, establishing a foundation and giving out two dozen awards.

A two-legged, blue, furry creature with a green hair and a globe for a nose, the yet-unnamed mascot wore a white singlet, and red-and-white sneakers and shorts. USATF President Bill Roe expressed his belief that the mascot will play a key role in attracting to and keeping youth in the sport. The mascot is expected to make appearances at numerous events as soon as the contest to name it bears fruit.

The purpose of the USA Track & Field Foundation is to "enhance lives and communities in the United States through track & field, long distance running and race walking." The Foundation seeks to achieve its purpose by exposing more young people to the benefits of running, promoting the development of elite athletes, expanding the opportunities for masters competitors, recruiting and training officials and coaches, and building the facilities to support the sport.

As a not-for-profit organization, the USATF Foundation expects to fund its operations through donations.

Finally, no annual meeting is complete without rolling out dozens of awards. Twelve "President's Awards" were given to officials and athletes for long-term contributions to the sport. These included Olympians Patti-Sue Plummer, Sandra Farmer-Patrick and Gail Devers, and Penn Relays director and historian Dave Johnson.

The Pacesetters award went to Khalid Khannouchi, the world-record holder in the marathon in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 38 seconds, and the only human to run three marathon in under two hours and six minutes. The Verizon youth athlete of the year award went to former Florida high school sprinter Sanya Richards, who broke the American junior record in the 400 with a time of 50.69 at last July's Junior Olympics in Omaha, Neb.

Training partners Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery were named as recipients of the 2002 Jesse Owens Awards, USATF's highest athletic honor. Jones finished 2002 undefeated at 100, 200 and 400 meters. Montgomery earned the title of Fastest Human by running 100 meters in a new world record of 9.78 seconds. Their coach Trevor Graham received the Nike Coach of the Year Award.

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at