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Owens Award winners announced

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery Tuesday were named as the winners of the Jesse Owens Award for 2002.

Established in 1981, the award is the highest honor in USA Track & Field, presented annually to the outstanding U.S. male and female track performers.

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This year, Jones became the first U.S. athlete in seven years to complete an undefeated season. She was perfect with 16 wins in the 100 meters, four wins in the 200 meters, and one 400-meter victory.

Jones swept the Golden League meets in the 100 meters, giving her the IAAF overall Grand Prix title.

The last American track athlete to achieve the feat was Michael Johnson in 1995.

Consequently, Jones joins Johnson as the only Americans to win the award three times. Jones also won in 1997-98. Johnson won three straight from 1994-96.

Montgomery captured the most important title in track and field -- the World's Fastest Human -- when he ran 9.78 seconds for the 100 meters at the 2002 IAAF Grand prix Final on Sept. 14.

The mark was the only world record this summer in the sprints or field events.

Montgomery earned $250,000 for breaking Maurice Greene's previous time of 9.79 seconds.

Jones and Montgomery are training partners.

"Marion and Tim had historic seasons in 2002," said USA Track & Field CEO Craig Masback. "By training together and drawing on each other for support and motivation, they showed the importance of teamwork in an individual sport. Marion is unquestionably one of the all-time greats in track and field. Tim has now entered the pantheon of World's Fastest Human."

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