INDIANAPOLIS -- Improving on his own world lead in the men’s hammer, Rudy Winkler (Newark, New Jersey) earned USATF Athlete of the Week, while Kate Schmidt was selected by fans as the winner of the 25th USATF Throwback Athlete of the Week award for setting a world record in the women’s javelin on Sept. 11, 1977. In the absence of regular competition during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are taking a weekly look back at some of the great efforts by American track and field athletes through the years.

Winkler, the 2018 USATF champion, had set a world-leading mark of 80.70m/264-9 in July, and he added two centimeters to that with a best of 80.72m/264-10 at the 12th Rock meet in Middletown, New York. Winkler solidified his grasp on the No. 3 spot on the U.S. all-time list, and he added two more throws beyond 80m in his series, going 80.18m/263-1 in the second round and 80.37m/263-8 on his final attempt.
Schmidt, the 1972 and 1976 Olympic bronze medalist and a seven-time U.S. champion, added eight inches to the existing world record of 69.12/226-9, set by East Germany’s Ruth Fuchs at Berlin in 1976, with a monster 69.32m/227-5 at Fürth, Germany. The record came on Schmidt’s fifth attempt, and she described it as “a perfect throw” to historian Louise Mead Tricard. The tenth American record of Schmidt’s career, it added more than nine feet to her existing AR of 66.52m/218-3 and remains forever the longest throw by an American woman, since the implement was changed in 1999.
A 1994 inductee into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame who earned the nickname “Kate the Great”, the 66-year-old Schmidt was a fitness professional and an abstract artist after retiring from the sport, and also served a stint as an assistant coach at Occidental College.
Other historical performances of note from the September 7-13 period in USATF history:

  • September 7 — Rod Milburn American record in men’s 110m hurdles, 13.24 at Munich in 1972
  • September 8 — Frances Davenport American record in women’s javelin, 51.34m/168-5 at Wissen, Germany, in 1963
  • September 9 — George Bronder American record in men’s javelin, 58.06m/190-6 at Newark, New Jersey, in 1916
  • September 10 — Maren Seidler American record in women’s shot put, 18.98m/62-3.25 at Freising, Germany, in 1978
  • September 12 — Ralph Boston World record in men’s long jump, 8.34m/27-4.25 at Los Angeles in 1964
  • September 13 — Rex Cawley World record in men’s 400m hurdles, 49.1 at Los Angeles in 1964

Other notable performances from the past week included:

  • Christian Taylor came through in the final round at the Berlin Continental Tour meet, going a world-leading 17.57m/57-7.75 for the win in the men’s triple jump
  • Molly Huddle won the Labor Day Showdown women’s 5,000m at Newton, Massachusetts in 15:20.80
  • Johnny Gregorek won the Bethel Twilight men’s 1,500m in 3:36.11 in hid first race at the distance this season
  • Shannon Rowbury ran her fastest 1,500m since 2016 with a 4:02.56 at the Berlin Continental Tour meet

Now in its 19th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2020 Winners: January 9, Miranda Melville; January 16, Paul Perry; January 23, Natosha Rogers; January 30, Tyler Day, February 6, Devin Dixon; February 13, Elle Purrier; February 20, Tori Franklin; February 27, Sandi Morris; March 4, Abdi Abdirahman; March 12 Marielle Hall; March 19, Tim Tollefson; April 2, Louise Ritter; April 9, Francie Larrieu Smith; April 16, Erin Gilreath; April 23, Suzy Powell; April 30, Joe Dial; May 7, Dawn Ellerbe; May 14, Ramona Pagel; May 21, Brian Oldfield; May 28, Jackie Joyner-Kersee; June 4, Jesse Owens; June 11, Mary Decker Slaney; June 18, Leroy Burrell; June 25, Sandra Farmer-Patrick; July 2, Jim Ryun; July 9, Evelyn Ashford; July 16, Wilma Rudolph & Shelby Houlihan; July 23, Pat Daniels & Ryan Crouser; July 30, Michael Norman & Mildred “Babe” Didriksen; August 6, Valarie Allman & Parry O’Brien; August 13, Sara Hall & Kevin Young; August 20, Justin Robinson & Jackie Joyner-Kersee; August 27, Donavan Brazier & Renaldo Nehemiah; September 3, Ryan Crouser & Mike Powell; September 10, Ryan Crouser & Wilma Rudolph; September 17, Rudy Winkler & Kate Schmidt.
We welcome your nominations!
To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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