Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year
United States of America Track & Field (USATF) and Nike are inviting fans of the sport to vote for the 2010 recipients of the Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year presented by Nike. The winners, one male athlete and one female athlete, will be chosen based on a vote by the media and the vote of fans. The fan voting will count ten percent to the overall score. In addition, if you vote, you will be entered into a drawing to win USATF/Nike merchandise.
When is the last time you got to vote for the Cy Young Award winner? How about the Heisman Trophy winner? This is a great chance to participate in the sport of track & field.
The winners will be presented their award at the USATF Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach in December. Last year’s winners were Tyson Gay and Sandra Richards. The award, established in 1981, is named for Jesse Owens, most known for his four gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4X100 relay at the 1936 Olympics. It’s a tribute to a man whose accomplishments are forever enshrined in sports history. It is USATF’s highest accolade, and is presented annually to the individuals as the outstanding American performers of the year in Athletics.
These are the nominees for each gender.
MEN – Christian Cantwell, Tyson Gay, Bernard Lagat, David Oliver, Chris Solinsky.
WOMEN – Allyson Felix, Molly Huddle, Chaunte Lowe, Kara Patterson.
I feel that all the men’s candidates had super 2010 seasons and are worthy of the award. On the women’s side, I feel that Huddle’s season did not quite match up to what the other three women achieved but the other three are all worthy candidates.
But that’s all just a subjective opinion. To make this interesting I have created an objective scoring system to compare the athletes and to come up with who I will vote for. In a year like 2010 with no international championship, I believe the criteria for having a good season should have been:
– Achieving a world record.
– Achieving an American record.
– Placing in the Diamond League Meet standings.
– Achieving a mark that ranks amongst the best in the world for the year.
Thus I gave seven points for a world record (none of them achieved a world record).
I gave six points for an American record.
I gave five points for winning the Diamond League, three points for placing second and one point for placing third.
I gave five points for having the best mark in the world for 2010, three points for the second best mark, and one point for the third best mark. Athletes could only score once in this category. E.g. Five points for first, but even if they also had the second best mark in the world, they didn’t get an additional three points.
The only subjective part was a three point bonus that I gave for intangibles. I awarded three points to athletes if they had a performance that while not scoring in one of the above listed criteria was still noteworthy enough to warrant points.
Outdoor performances rank as more important than indoor performances so I only considered indoor accomplishments to break a tie between athletes who were tied after their outdoor performances were compared.
For the Men:
Cantwell – five points for world leading mark in the shot put and five points for winning the Diamond League for 10 points total.
Gay – five points for world leading mark in the 100, five points for winning the Diamond League, three points for having the second best time in the world in the 200, and three points for the intangible of beating Usain Bolt head-to-head for 16 points total.
Lagat – six points for an American record in the 5000, three points for an American record in the 3000 (I valued this at half value because the 3000 is not a championship distance), three points for the intangible of winning the 3000 and 5000 at the Continental Cup for 12 points.
Oliver – six points for an American record in the 110 hurdles, five points for world leading mark, five points for winning the Diamond League, three points for the intangible of winning all fifteen of his 110 hurdle finals races for 19 points.
Solinsky – six points for an American record in the 10,000 and three points for having the second best time in the world in the 10,000 for 9 points.
So based on this, Oliver gets my vote.
For the Women:
Felix – five points for winning the Diamond League in the 200, five points for winning the Diamond League in the 400, three points for having the second best time in the world in the 200 for 13 points.
Huddle – six points for an American record in the 5000 for 6 points.
Lowe – six points for an American record in the high jump and five points for world leading mark for 11 points.
Patterson – six points for an American record in the javelin and three points for coming in second in the Diamond League for 9 points.
Based on this, I think it’s close between Lowe and Felix. Felix has the advantage that she can compete in two events (that are somewhat similar) in the Diamond League, while the others do not have this option. Still to win two Diamond League events required a lot of good racing. On the other hand, Lowe set an American record in her event while Felix did not.
Those are my thoughts on the 2010 Jesse Owens Award. What are yours?