ORLANDO — The 2016 season was feted Saturday evening at the 2016 Jesse Owens Awards Ceremony, held at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in conjunction with USATF’s Annual Meeting. The ceremony was hosted by NBC Sports’ Todd Harris.
USATF Athletes of the Year Michelle Carter and Matthew Centrowitz, Nike Coach of the Year Tonja Buford-Bailey, USATF Masters Athlete of the Year Irene Obera and USATF Youth Athlete of the Year Sydney McLaughlin all accepted their awards with speeches Saturday, and the guests looked back at a year that saw Team USA win 32 medals in Rio and 23 medals in Portland, as well as numerous national and international accolades.
Wing Awards given to fan favorites
The Wing Awards, formerly known as the Fan’s Choice Awards, were also handed out Saturday evening. Athletes were nominated in five categories for their phenomenal 2016 performances, including Best Rio Olympic Field Performance, Best Rio Olympic Track Performance, Best World Indoor Championships Performance, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year and History Making Performance. A full list of nominees can be found here and the winners are listed below.
Best Rio Olympic Field Performance – Ryan Crouser – Smashed the Olympic record in the men’s shot put to win Olympic gold, recording a massive throw of 22.52m/73-10.75 to break the 28-year-old record.
Best Rio Olympic Track Performance – Matthew Centrowitz – Flawlessly executing a masterful race strategy, Centrowitz surged to Team USA’s first Olympic gold in the men’s 1500m since 1908 and helped lead the U.S. to one of its finest distance performances in team history.
Best World Indoor Championships Performance – Trayvon Bromell – The youngest man to ever win gold in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships, Bromell defeated the deepest 60m field in history with all eight finishers running 6.56 or faster.
Breakthrough Athlete of the Year – Clayton Murphy – Turned in an undefeated collegiate season, becoming the NCAA Champion in the 1500m. Just three weeks later, Murphy stunned the field to become the U.S. Olympic Trials champion in the men’s 800 meters. Murphy took home bronze in Rio, becoming the first American to medal in the men’s 800m since Johnny Gray’s bronze in 1992. His PB of 1:42.93 in Rio moved him to third all-time on the U.S. list.
History Making Performance – Allyson Felix, Rio Olympic Games – Became the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals, and is now tied as the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history with a total of nine Olympic medals.