December 20, 1998
Former Bruin John Godina, who in 1995 as a UCLA senior won both the shot put and discus at the NCAA Outdoor, was named by Track & Field News as the 1998 U. S. Male Athlete of the Year, the magazine announced in its Jan. 1999 issue.
Godina, who also placed third in the balloting for the World's Top Male Track and Field Athlete in '98 (won by Ethiopia's distance ace Haile Gebrselassie), last season led the world lists in both the shot put (71-5 1/2) and discus (229- 4). He was unbeaten in the shot put (17 consecutive wins) and is rated No. 1 in the world. In the discus, he is rated No. 3 in the world. At the 1998 U. S. meet, Godina won the both the shot put and discus to become the first American to accomplish that feat since Parry O'Brien in 1955.
Another former Bruin, sprinter Ato Bolden who won both the NCAA Outdoor 100m and 200m during his days as a Bruin (1995-96), also fared well in the current T & FN world rankings. In the balloting for Top Male Athlete in the World, Boldon, who represents Trinidad, placed seventh. Boldon led the world lists in the 100m (9.86) and 200m (19.88) and is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 200m and No. 2 in the 100m.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who retired from competition after the 1998 season, went out in style. She placed ninth in the voting for U. S. Women's Athlete of the Year, was rated No. 2 in the world (No. 1 in the U. S.) in the heptathlon (6,502) and No. 6 in the U. S. in the long jump.
Current Bruins who are in the U. S. women's rankings include -- junior Seilala Sua in the throws, sophomore Shakedia Jones in the sprints and junior Deana Simmons in the triple jump. Sua, the 1998 U. S. discus champion and two-time defending NCAA discus champion, is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the discus and No. 7 in the shot put. Jones, who is the 1998 World Junior 100m champion and the U. S. Junior 200m champ, in the U. S. is rated No. 4 in the 100m and No. 8 in the 200m. Simmons, a three-time All-American in the triple jump who is also the defending Pac-10 champion, is No. 10 in the U. S. in the triple.
Here's the complete list of Bruins, both past and present, who are in the final 1998 World and U. S. track and field rankings--
100m -- Ato Boldon (9.86), 2nd World 200m -- Ato Boldon (19.88), 1st World Gentry Bradley, 7th U. S. 5,000m -- Mebrahtom Keflezighi, 7th U. S. 10,000m -- Mebrahtom Keflezighi, 5th U. S. 400m Hurdles -- Kevin Young, 8th U. S. Pole Vault -- Scott Slover, 9th U. S. Shot Put -- John Godina (71-5 1/2), 1st World, 1st U. S. Discus -- John Godina (229-4), 3rd World, 1st U. S. Javelin -- Josh Johnson, 2nd U. S.
100m -- Shakedia Jones, 4th U. S. 200m -- Shakedia Jones, 8th U. S. HJ -- Amy Acuff (6-4 1/4), 5th World, 2nd U. S. Pole Vault -- Tiffany Smith, 7th U. S. Long Jump -- Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 6th U. S. Marieke Veltman, 9th U. S. Triple Jump -- Deana Simmons, 10th U. S. Shot Put -- Valeyta Althouse, 4th U. S. Dawn Dumble, 5th U. S. Seilala Sua, 7th U. S. Discus -- Seilala Sua, 1st U. S. Suzy Powell, 3rd U. S. Dawn Dumble, 6th U. S. Javelin -- Suzy Powell, 7th U. S. Heptathlon -- Jackie Joyner-Kersee (6,502) 2nd World, lst U.S. Sheila Burrell, 4th U. S.