Stacy Dragila, who won the first women's Olympic pole vault gold medal at Sydney, and Angelo Taylor, who won gold at Sydney in the 400-meter hurdles and in the 1,600-meter relay, on Thursday were named winners of the Jesse Owens Award for 2000. They will be honored Saturday during USA Track and Field's annual meeting in Albuquerque.
Dragila, of Auburn, Calif., won the first women's indoor pole vault championship and the first outdoor title before vaulting 15 feet 1 inch for Olympic gold. Taylor, of Albany, Ga., won the 400 hurdles despite the tactical disadvantage of starting in Lane 1.
"I consider myself just a regular guy. To receive the Jesse Owens award was really a surprise," said Taylor, 21. "Jesse Owens is the epitome of track for what he did in 1936, winning four gold medals. I'm very honored to receive such an honor at such a young age."
Dragila, who resumed training 2 1/2 weeks ago after a whirlwind of post-Olympic appearances, recalled being envious when Maurice Greene and Inger Miller received the award last year.
"I remember being in the back of the ballroom and thinking, 'Hopefully, one of these days, I can be looked upon the same way they are,' " she said. "Hearing that I won just amazed me. I go out on the track and do what I'm asked to do. To be recognized with such a prestigious honor is amazing."
The award is presented annually to the outstanding male and female performers in the United States in track and field, long-distance running and race walking. The winners were chosen by the executive board of USATF.
USATF also announced it will move its national hall of fame to New York. The facility, at the 168th Street Armory, is expected to open in 2002.