Thursday, July 10, 2008

Aretha Thurmond & Diana Pickler receive $5000 grant bonuses from USATF Foundation...

USA Track & Field Foundation awarded additional $5,000 bonuses to recipients of their Elite Athlete Development Grant program, USATF Foundation Executive Director Tom Jackovic announced Wednesday.

Discus thrower Aretha Thurmond & heptathlete Diana Pickler received these bonuses as a result of earning berths on the US Olympic team during the first weekend of the Trials.

Shani Marks (triple jump), Stephanie Brown Trafton (discus), David Oliver (110 hurdles), Mike Hazle (javelin), April Steiner (pole vault), Loree Smith (hammer throw) and Leigh Smith (javelin) also received the bonuses to assist with expenses associated with training for the Olympic Games in August.

"It is very exciting to see so many of the athletes that we support through the elite grant program excel at the Olympic Trials," said USATF Foundation Director Ashley Wright. "It's truly an honor to further support these athletes as they fulfill their Olympic dreams." stated

The USATF Foundation Elite Athlete Grant program contributes to the pursuit of world-class performances by American post-collegiate track and field athletes. Athletes must meet minimum performance and income standards to be eligible. The Foundation assists people of all ages, all walks of life, and all ability levels in finding enjoyment and accomplishment and achieving fitness through the sport.

In a post on, USATF Foundation board member Jack Wickens stated that, "The USATF Foundation decided to reward ALL athletes that have received individual grants from us since 2006 with a "bonus" if they made the Olympic team (regardless of their current financial position). We felt that this action visibly reinforced the mission and purpose of our elite athlete support. These athletes, in a sense, made great use of our investment in them."

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