By decision of the Lamine Diack, acting President of the International Athletic Foundation, and at the specific request of Mrs Giovanna Nebiolo, it has been decided that the 1999 World Athletics Gala and related activities will go on, as planned for the 20-21 November.
Out of respect to the memory and immeasurable achievements of our late President, the Gala programme itself will be substantially dedicated to a commemoration of his life.
In what we believe would have been his wish, the Gala will still attempt to celebrate, albeit in less festive tone, the bright moments of this Year in Athletics as well as great athletes who indelibly marked 1999.
Therefore, following the world-wide survey conducted last month, the Foundation Council will proceed to nominate the Athletes of the Year and make the formal announcement, as per tradition, during the Gala evening on 21 November, in the Salle d’Or of the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco.
Moreover, in accordance with President Nebiolo’s specific request prior to his death, a special award will be presented to the "Athletes of the Century".
It had been Dr Nebiolo’s personal wish to celebrate "A Century of Athletics Excellence" and to this end, some of the greatest athletes of the past had been invited and the renowned Olympic film director Bud Greenspan had been asked to contribute with a special film presentation.
All of these elements will be maintained during the Gala, as will the planned "No Finish Line" race for youngsters on Monaco’s Port Hercules – starting at 16.30 on Saturday 20 November – to promote, in conjunction with the Principality of Monaco, "A Universal Day for Children’s Rights". The concert of Julia Migenes, which will take place on Saturday evening in the Princess Grace theatre, will also be dedicated to this theme. Both the concert and the Gala will be broadcast live.
According to the results of the poll, the nominations for Athlete of the Year are:
Women: Eunice Barber (FRA), Gail Devers (USA), Ludmila Engquist (SWE), Ludmila Formanova (CZE), Marion Jones (USA), Tegla Loroupe (KEN), Svetlana Masterkova (RUS), Mihaela Melinte (ROM), Gabriela Szabo (ROM), Gete Wami (ETH).
Men: Abel Anton (ESP), Tomas Dvorak (CZE), Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR), Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), Colin Jackson (GBR), Maurice Greene (USA), Michael Johnson (USA), Wilson Kipketer (DEN), Maksim Tarasov (RUS), Paul Tergat (KEN).
Candidates for the "Athletes of the Century" award:
Women: Iolanda Balas (ROM), Fanny-Blankers-Koen (HOL), Mildred "Babe" Didriksen (USA), Heike Drechsler (GER), Florence Griffith Joyner (USA), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA), Stefka Kostadinova (BUL), Jarmila Kratochvilova (CZE), Wilma Rudolph (USA), Irena Kirzenstein-Szewinska (POL), Grete Waitz (NOR).
Men: Abebe Bikila (ETH), Sergey Bubka (UKR), Sebastian Coe (GBR), Herb Elliott (AUS), Carl Lewis (USA), Pietro Mennea (ITA), Edwin Moses (USA), Paavo Nurmi (FIN), Al Oerter (USA), Jesse Owens (USA), Emil Zatopek (CZE).