John Capel (Men’s Sprints) - After spending two years out of the sport, Capel returned with a vengeance in 2003, winning the World Outdoor Championships 200m, running leadoff for the gold medal 4x100m relay and being ranked No. 1 in the world by Track & Field News.
Capel, the youngest of 11 children and a standout sprinter in high school, burst onto the world scene in spectacular fashion in 1999 when he ran 19.87 for 200m at the University of Florida . He also played football as a scholarship wide receiver for the Gators. However, in 2000, he withdrew from football to concentrate on track.
Citizens in Capel’s hometown raised $29,000 to enable his parents to travel to Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games. Capel announced his intentions to enter the 2001 NFL draft on January 11 and was drafted by the Chicago Bears. He was later released and attempted to make the roster for the Kansas City Chiefs, but was let go.
He and his wife have two children, Janya and Serenity.
Maurice Greene (Men’s 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 meters relay ) - The dominant 100m sprinter of his era, Greene is looking for a great 2004 campaign following a 2003 season plagued by knee problems. He owns three of the four fastest times in history – 9.79 former world record, 9.80 and 9.82.
Greene added two Olympic gold medals to his five career World Championships golds at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney , winning the 100m and 4x100m. In 2001 he received recognition as USATF’s Visa Humanitarian of the Year Award, in part for the work he does with the Maurice Greene Finish the Race Youth Foundation, which he founded in his hometown of Kansas City , Kan.
Greene presented the winner’s trophy to Jennifer Capriatti at the 2001 French Open, and he was a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, winning $125,000, half of which he donated to the United Negro College Fund.
Allen Johnson (Men’s 110m Hurdles) - Johnson became the greatest hurdler in world championships history on August 30 of last year in Paris , leading Team USA to a 1-2-4-5 finish in the 110m hurdles at the 2003 IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Suffering from untimely injuries in 2000 and early in 2001, Johnson came back to remind the world that he is the top 110m hurdler, winning the 2001 World Championships and Goodwill Games.
He followed up in 2002 with U.S. titles indoors and outdoors. Johnson has said his goal in the hurdles, in the perfect race, is a 12.70 finish. He was recruited out of high school as a decathlete. While watching the 1992 Olympic Games on television with his family, Johnson predicted that he would win the 1996 Olympic gold, which he did.
He led a successful fund drive for a new track surface at Lake Braddock , an act that contributed to him being named USATF’s 1999 Visa Humanitarian of the Year. His aspiration is to some day own his own business.
Tim Montgomery ( Men’s 100 meters, 4x100m relay) - In setting the men’s 100m world record of 9.78 seconds on September 14, 2002 , at the IAAF Grand Prix Final in Paris , Montgomery secured the overall 2002 Grand Prix men’s crown and a payday of $250,000. He was presented the 2002 Jesse Owens Award for his breakthrough season.
Montgomery equaled the then third-fastest 100m time in history on July 13, 2001 , in Oslo while wearing training partner Marion Jones’ shoes after his luggage failed to arrive. His athletic career started with baseball and football, but an injury convinced him to try track & field. Has a son, Tim, with five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones, and one daughter, Tyhamia.
Adam Nelson ( Men’s Shot Put) - Nelson ended the 2003 season ranked No. 3 in the world despite battling several injuries including muscle pulls, tendonitis and shin splints. Sparking his first Olympic year, he improved from a ranking of No. 6 in the U.S. in 1999 to No. 1 in the world in 2000.
Nelson played football at Dartmouth starting out as a linebacker and ending his career as a defensive tackle. After majoring in government at Dartmouth , he moved to New York City to train and take acting lessons. Nelson trains four to five hours a day, five days a week.
He has become well known for his pre-shot routine of marching in front of the competition circle and yelling for the crowd to cheer him on before stripping off his t-shirt and storming into the circle for his attempt. Nelson’s most recent achievement came on March 13, 2004 , when he and wife, Lacy, were married.
Dwight Phillips (Men’s Long Jump) - Phillips established himself as the world’s No. 1 jumper in 2003 with his dramatic wins at the World Indoor Championships. In addition to winning the U.S. Outdoor title and the IAAF Grand Prix Final, Phillips ended the 2003 season ranked No. 1 in the world by Track & Field News.
His longest jump is a wind-aided 27-2.75w at the 2000 adidas Oregon Track Classic. In high school, Phillips was an All-American and all-state selection. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in communications.
Savante Stringfellow ( Men’s Long Jump) - Stringfellow has two Superman tattoos, a big “S” on his left bicep and a whole picture of Superman on his left leg, both representative of his fascination with the super hero since he was a boy.
It is this interest that keeps Stringfellow motivated on the track with the notion that he can do superhuman things. “At times, I think I can fly,” he said. “To me, Superman also means whatever needs to be done, I can do it. Flying, though, is my inspiration.”
His aerial exploits led to the two longest jumps in the world in 2002. An Ole Miss graduate, Stringfellow wants to coach after his athletic career is over. Married to longtime girlfriend, Leah Hales, the couple has one daughter, Makenzi.
Tyree Washington (Men’s 400 meters) - Washington enjoyed his finest year in 2003, going undefeated the entire season before his silver-medal finish at the World Outdoor Championships. After injury and illness kept him off the track in 2000 and 2001, he made a fierce comeback. Though he has become known for his performances for USA Track & Field.
Washington calls football his first love. He has received offers to play for the San Diego Chargers, New York Giants and the Oakland Raiders. Washington claims that one day he may pursue an NFL career. A trying childhood has inspired Washington to be a role model to children. He speaks to troubled youth about the importance of self-motivation.
Tom Pappas ( Decathlon) - In 2003 Pappas became the only American other than the legendary Dan O’Brien to win World Championships gold in the decathlon. He established himself as one of the greatest decathletes in U.S. history with his winning total of 8,784 points at the 2003 USA Outdoor Championships, making him the No. 2 American of all time.
Pappas participated in football, baseball, wrestling and basketball in high school and was junior class president. In 1995, Pappas began training as a decathlete, winning his first ever decathlon with 6,746 points. Despite paralysis due to a case of polio, Tom’s father Nick became the family’s first world record-holder when he and a partner claimed a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in a vehicle that achieved a top speed of more than 700 kilometers per hour.
Information provided by USOC Press Box