In recognition of their historic achievements during the 2016 season, Olympic champions Michelle Carter and Matthew Centrowitz have been selected to receive USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Year awards.
Carter has been named the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Female Athlete of the Year after having stellar indoor and outdoor seasons in shot put. She rewrote two American records, each time on the world’s biggest stage. First to fall was the indoor mark, which she set at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon, throwing 20.21 meters on her final attempt to capture the gold medal. The three-time Olympian and U.S. team captain then made history in Rio by becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic shot put title, posting a result of 20.63 meters on her final throw to secure the victory. Her gold medal kicked off the largest U.S. track and field medal haul at a full-participation Olympic Games since the Los Angeles 1932 Games. Carter now owns six of the top 10 throws in U.S. history.
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Centrowitz will be presented the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award after a year that was nothing but golden. He opened it at the Millrose Games, where he picked up his third victory in the Wanamaker Mile. He then headed to Portland, where he rang up a 1,500-meter win at the USATF Indoor Championships, followed one week later by claiming his first world 1,500-meter title at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. The son of an Olympian, Centrowitz traveled to his second Olympic Games in August and erased any disappointment that may have lingered from the London 2012 Olympic Games, where missed the podium finish by 0.04 seconds. Using his trademark strong finish to circle the track in 50.6 seconds on his final lap, he became the first American since 1908 to claim 1,500-meter Olympic gold with a time of 3:50.00. His victory was part of an unprecedented seven medals won by U.S. runners in distances 800 meters or longer at a single Games.
Carter and Centrowitz will receive their awards at USATF’s 2016 Jesse Owens Banquet, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Hilton at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.