Sept. 19, 2010
• BigTenIcons.com | Favor Hamilton Profile
CHICAGO -- Nine-time NCAA champion Suzy Favor Hamilton of Wisconsin comes in at No. 19 in the "Big Ten Icons" countdown of the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten Conference history.
The Big Ten Icons series, presented by Discover, continues at 8 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday with Favor Hamilton featured as Icon No. 19.
New episodes of the 20-episode series, hosted by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson, debut at 8 p.m. every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring.
Favor Hamilton is one of the most accomplished athletes in Big Ten history. She won 23 conference championships and a record nine NCAA titles, inlcuding four straight in the 1,500 meters. In all, she was a 14-time All-American in track and cross country during her Wisconsin career from 1987-91.
The native of Stevens Point, Wis., was named Big Ten Athlete of the Decade for the 1990s. She was honored as NCAA Woman of the Year, and received the Honda-Broderick Cup as the nation’s top female college athlete in 1990.
After she was chosen as Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year for four years running, the conference went ahead and named the award for her; Favor Hamilton’s counterpart on the men’s side is the great Jesse Owens.
Favor Hamilton was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1992, 1996 and 2000 and was a seven-time U.S. champion during her professional career. She finished the 2000 season ranked No. 1 in the world and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in five different seasons.
The four-time UW Female Athlete of the Year was enshrined as part of the UW Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 1996.
In the Icons episode, Favor Hamilton recalls becoming a running sensation early in life. “I beat all the boys in the fifth grade. I still remember to this day that moment because they were chanting my name, going ‘Suzy, Suzy,’ and that was kind of my first little inkling of fame and what it felt like to be popular, and I really liked it. I liked it a lot.”
Looking back, Favor Hamilton’s college decision was life-altering. “That day that I decided to go to Wisconsin was one of the best moments of my life because I had no idea how that would impact my life by going to that university. It changed my life forever.”
In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath writes, “In Big Ten country, Suzy Favor Hamilton’s name is synonymous with high-level effort and achievement. (Her) drive came from within. If she had a hard time resisting the ‘you must win’ imperative, it was because she was always winning.”
To read the full essay and to watch a video feature on Favor Hamilton, visit her Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com.