November 19, 2009 / 11:50 PM / in 9 years

Gay and Richards claim Jesse Owens honors

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tyson Gay and Sanya Richards claimed Jesse Owens awards for the second time on Thursday as the United States’ top track and field athletes.

Gay, winner of the award in 2007, has been overshadowed by Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt but improved the American 100 meters record three times in a three-month span.

He lowered the mark to 9.71 seconds when finishing runner-up to Bolt, who set the world record of 9.58, in the 100 meters final at this year’s world championships in Berlin.

Gay then lowered the American record to 9.69 in Shanghai when he matched the second-fastest time ever in the event, which was run by Bolt when he won gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Richards, who also claimed the Owens honor in 2006, captured the 400 meters world title in Berlin and ran the anchor leg on the U.S. gold medal winning 4x400 relay team.

The award is named after Jesse Owens, who became one of athletics most iconic figures by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin while conducting himself at all times with grace and dignity.

Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris

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