Shelby Houlihan wins the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (Gladys Chai von der Laage) © Copyright
General News Indianapolis, USA

Houlihan and Lyles named US athletes of the year

Shelby Houlihan and Noah Lyles were named the winners of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award and Jesse Owens Award, respectively, the sport’s highest annual accolade in the U.S.A.

After impressive Diamond League victories in Eugene and Lausanne, Houlihan, 25, broke the national 5000m record in Heusden, Belgium, clocking 14:34.45, clipping more than 20 seconds from her previous best and more than four seconds from the previous record.

A month earlier, Houlihan became just the second woman to win the 1500m/5000m double at the national championships since 2003. That double came after her second successive indoor 1500m/3000m double victory at the national championships. She later finished fourth in the 1500m and fifth in the 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.

"I'm so humbled and honoured to have not only have been nominated for the Jackie Joyner-Kersee award, but to have also had enough people think that I am deserving of it," Houlihan said. "Every one of these women, and many more, continue to inspire me and push me day after day to run my best and train my hardest."

Meanwhile, Lyles, 21, claimed the Diamond League 200m title after going undefeated over five Diamond League contests over the distance.


Noah Lyles wins the 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco (Philippe Fitte)Noah Lyles wins the 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco (Philippe Fitte) © Copyright


At the US Outdoor Championships, Lyles ran a then world-leading 9.88 to win the 100m title, bettering by 0.01 his previous career best set 100 minutes earlier. Lyles became the youngest national 100m champion in 34 years since Sam Graddy won at 20 years, 3 months, 30 days compared to Noah's 20 years, 11 months and 4 days.

Lyles went on to win the Diamond League 200m final in 19.67 in Zürich, making him only the second man in history (along with Usain Bolt) to record four sub-19.70 clockings in one year. He clocked his season-best 200m of 19.65 in Monaco.

He wrapped up the season leading Team Americas to the IAAF Continental Cup title as he won the 100m in 10.01 and ran on the winning 4x100m relay team.

"I am truly honoured and grateful to receive this year's Jesse Owens Award," Lyles said. "Jesse Owens was a pioneer who set a standard of excellence that I hope to achieve some day. To be named the USA's top overall track athlete and win an award named for one of the greatest legends in our sport's history is an incredible honour. Thank you to my family, friends and everyone that supports me."

USATF for the IAAF