Jan. 5, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS - In 2004, USA Track & Field will celebrate its 25th anniversary as an independent, national governing body (NGB). In 1979, The Athletics Congress - later renamed USATF - became the NGB for track & field and held its first Annual Meeting, in Las Vegas.
To help mark the 25th anniversary, track & field fans can join USA Track & Field in selecting the top 25 moments in American track and field during the past 25 years. Fans can now nominate what they consider to be the top moments in the sports of track & field, long distance running, and race walking by visiting www.usatf.org. (An initial list of nominations is below, including Bruin greats Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner, Jackie Joyner- Kersee, Gail Devers, Mike Powell and Kevin Young.)
Nominations can include any 'moment' on or off the field of play in any of the sport's disciplines, at any level - from youth to masters. Events must have occurred between 1979-2004. They need not have taken place at a USATF event, but all athletic performances must have been recorded by an American athlete. Nominations will be open until February 22. From February 28 through June 20, fans can vote for their favorite moment.
Beginning the week of June 28, the Top 25 moments will be announced, one per week, in reverse order. At the opening general session of the 2004 USATF Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore., the top 3 moments will be announced.
The top 25 moments will be selected by a panel of the sport's experts, in conjunction with fan voting.
Below is a list of initial nominations for the 25 greatest moments of the past 25 years.
The Athletics Congress (TAC), later renamed USA Track & Field, in 1979 holds its first Annual Meeting as the national governing body of the sport in the U.S. The event is the sport's first from outside the aegis of the Amateur Athletic Union. At the meeting, a unanimous vote calls for the repeal of amateur eligibility requirements.
Michael Carter of Jefferson High School in Dallas throws the high school boys' shot put 81 feet, 3.5 inches at the 1979 Golden West Invitational. The mark is largely considered the greatest prep mark in history.
Evelyn Ashford wins both sprints at the 1979 World Cup, defeating East German world-record holders Marlies Gohr in the 100 and Marita Koch in the 200 (21.83).
Craig Virgin becomes first American man ever to win World Cross Country title at the 1980 Championships.
The NCAA holds its first ever women's competition, the NCAA Cross Country Championships, in 1981, marking a significant milestone for women's track and field.
Evelyn Ashford (10.79) and Calvin Smith (9.93) set women's and men's 100-meter world records in back-to-back races at the 1983 U.S. Olympic Festival in Colorado Springs.
Mary Decker wins the 1,500 and 3,000 meters at the 1983 World Outdoor Championships in a feat that became known as the "Decker Double."
Edwin Moses wins 122 consecutive races, including 107 finals. The streak lasts nine years, nine months and nine days, spanning from 1977 to 1987. After his first loss in almost 10 years, he goes on to win 10 more consecutive races, including the 1987 world title.
Carl Lewis wins four gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, matching a feat accomplished only by Olympic icon Jesse Owens, in 1936.
Joan Benoit-Samuelson wins the first Olympic women's marathon, at the 1984 Olympics.
Valerie Brisco wins gold in the 200, 400 and 4x400m relay at the 1984 Olympics. Her 400m time of 48.83 still stands as the American record.
Florence Griffith Joyner obliterates the world record in the 100 meters, running 10.49 at the 1988 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.
Florence Griffith Joyner breaks the 200-meter world record, running 21.34 at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. She adds gold medals in the 100 meters and 4x100m relay, and runs anchor on the silver medal-winning 4x400m relay.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee scores 7,291 points in the heptathlon to break her own world record and win the gold at the 1988 Olympics.
Butch Reynolds breaks Lee Evans' world record in the 400 meters, running 43.29 seconds in Zurich in 1988.
Mike Powell breaks Bob Beamon's legendary world record in the long jump, soaring 8.95 meters (29 feet, 4.5 inches) at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo to edge Carl Lewis in what is considered the greatest long jump competition in history.
Lynn Jennings wins her third consecutive world title at the 1992 World Cross Country Championships.
Kevin Young breaks Edwin Moses' world record at the 1992 Olympic Games with his time of 46.78.
Michael Johnson sets what many consider to be a virtually unbreakable record, running 19.32 seconds in the 200 meters at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Michael Johnson becomes the only man in history to win both the 200 and 400 meters at a single Olympic Games, at the 1996 Olympics.
Carl Lewis wins his ninth gold medal, and fourth long jump gold, at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He becomes only the second man in Olympic history to win four golds in a single event, and the second man to win 9 gold medals overall.
Gail Devers becomes only the second woman in Olympic history to repeat as gold medalist in the 100 meters, winning the 100 at the 1996 Olympics to follow her 1992 victory. She adds gold in the 4x100m relay.
Maurice Greene becomes the first man ever to win the 100 and 200 meters in a World Championship at the 1999 Worlds in Seville. He adds 4x100m relay gold.
Michael Johnson breaks the world record in the 400 at the 1999 World Championships with his time of 43.18 seconds.
Marion Jones wins three gold medals (100, 200, 4x400 relay) and two bronze medals (long jump, 4x400m relay) at the 2000 Olympic Games. Her feat makes her the only woman ever to win five track & field medals at a single Olympic Games.
Stacy Dragila becomes the first female Olympic pole vault gold medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games.
Tim Montgomery runs 9.78 to break the world record in the 100 meters, at the 2002 Grand Prix Final in Paris.
Khalid Khannouchi sets the world record in the marathon at the 2002 London Marathon with his time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 38 seconds.
Spike named the new USATF mascot in 2002.