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USATF does not list a USA Champion in 1997 and 1999. In a quick search, I can't find the actual results. My guess is it was Antonio Pettigrew or another one of a host of athletes who was later disqualified for using performance enhancing drugs. Since there were so many individuals from that era who were later caught. No subsequent champion was named. I think it was Pettigrew because after being caught in 2008, he voluntarily returned his medals but no replacement was named for many of them. It was definitely not Michael Johnson, he was unable to run in 1997 due to his injury in the Bailey–Johnson 150-metre race about 3 weeks earlier. The IAAF invented the automatic returning champion clause specifically to allow him to run in the IAAF World Championships after being unable to run in his own National Championships. Because of that clause, he and many other returning champions had no reason to run in 1999 or subsequent national championships. Trackinfo (talk) 18:39, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Having checked the individual profiles on the USATF website, I can confirm that your guess is correct for 1997, i.e. that Antonio Pettigrew was the winner. In 1999 it was Jerome Young. Both were later sanctioned for doping offences. Were they stripped of their US titles as well? If so, does this mean second place finishers were given the titles?Kwib (talk) 10:53, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
No. As you saw in the 2000 Olympics, the places behind the disqualified winners were NOT advanced, thus no champion. Trackinfo (talk) 16:49, 20 January 2012 (UTC)