Stephanie Hightower

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Stephanie Hightower
Stephanie Hightower
Medal record
Women’s Athletics
Representing  United States
Pan Am Games
Silver medal – second place 1987 Indianapolis 100 m hurdles
Olympic Boycott Games
Gold medal – first place 1980 Philadelphia 100 m hurdles

Stephanie Hightower (born July 19, 1958 in Louisville, Kentucky) is the former president of USA Track & Field (USATF). She was elected in December 2008 and served until December 2016.[1][2] She resigned as chair of the USATF board in April 2015 and was elected to the IAAF Council in August 2015[3][4]


Hightower was a collegiate track star at The Ohio State University. From 1977 to 1980, she did not lose a race in the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles or the 100-meter hurdles, and earned Big Ten Conference, NCAA and National championship titles. She was unable to participate in the 1980 Summer Olympics due to the US boycott of the games. Hightower missed the 1984 Summer Olympics, finishing as the odd person out in what looked like a four-way tie at the Olympic Trials.[5][6] This was possibly the closest elite race in history.[5][7][8] The photo of the finish was later used for instruction in the use of photo finish devices. Twenty eight years later, as President of USATF, Hightower was part of the administrative committee formed to settle another controversial close finish, when Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix tied for the final qualifying spot in the 2012 Olympic Trials.

After retiring from competition, Hightower has held various positions with the USATF, including serving as women's team manager at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She is currently the President and CEO of the Columbus Urban League. In addition, she has served in the Columbus Mayor's cabinet for Sports Development. In 2011, Hightower was discussed as a possibility for the USATF's CEO position until the board decided on Max Siegel.[9]

Hightower is the niece of American Football Hall of Famer Paul Warfield.[6]


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