Venus and Serena Williams Win Award

Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and swimmer Jenny Thompson, the most decorated U.S. woman athlete in Olympic history, are winners of the 2000 Women's Sports Foundation awards.

The Williams sisters, who combined to win the doubles championships at Wimbledon and at the Olympics, are the recipients of the Foundation's team award. Those victories added to their 1999 French Open and U.S. Open doubles titles. They also helped the United States win the 1999 Federation Cup, beating Russia.

Both also have achieved success individually. Venus won the singles gold medal at the Olympics, after winning this year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open. Serena earned her first Grand Slam singles title at the 1999 U.S. Open.

Thompson won four medals at the Sydney Games, increasing her career total to 10 including eight golds. She was chosen the foundation's Sportswoman of the Year.

The award capped a sensational year for Thompson. At the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships, she won gold medals in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles, and a third gold in the 100 butterfly, setting a world record.

She also won the 100 and 200 freestyles and the 100 butterfly at the 1999 U.S. Championships, and two gold medals and one silver at this year's Short Course World Championships, setting a world record in the 50 butterfly.

At the U.S. Olympic trials, Thompson set a U.S. record in the 100 freestyle and won the 100 butterfly.

``There were so many incredible athletic performances by women during the past year that I truly feel fortunate to have my name included among the list of Sportswoman of the Year winners,'' Thompson said.

The Williams sisters also were delighted at winning.

``There's nothing my sister, Venus, and I enjoy more than winning together,'' Serena said. ``It has been an amazing year for us personally and professionally, both individually and as a team.''

Other Sportswoman of the Year finalists included Lindsay Davenport (tennis), Lisa Fernandez (softball), Marion Jones (track and field), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Lisa Leslie (basketball) and Tiffeny Milbrett (soccer).

Thompson and the Williams sisters were to receive their awards Monday night at the foundation's annual banquet.