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ASU's Tracy Mattes to be inducted into World Sports Humanitarian Hall

September 15, 2009

Tracy Mattes, a two-year member of the Arizona State University track & field program in the earlier 1990’s, will be one of three athletes enshrined in the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame when the organizations welcomes its 15th class at the September 24 ceremony in Boise, Idaho. She will be joined by former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Adonal Foyle and for Major League Soccer (MLS) Diego Gutierrez as members of the Class of 2009.

Mattes, who competed for the Sun Devils in 1990 and 1991, is being honored for her work as a special representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organization where she focused her efforts on harnessing the developmental power of tourism in the fight against world poverty. Her enshrinement will join her with over 40 world-class athletes and make her the eighth world-class track & field athlete to enter the Hall. She also is the first Sun Devil to be honored with enshrinement into the Hall that also includes the likes of Jesse Owens, Arthur Ashe, Pele, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Mary Lou Retton and Jackie Robinson, among others.

“Adonal Foyle, Diego Gutierrez and Tracy Mattes are examples to athletes everywhere, our youth and our peers of how giving back can profoundly impact the lives of others,” said Rick Frisch, president of the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. “Today, communities across the country and the world are faced with so much need. It is refreshing to find our most visible role models – world class athletes, taking it upon themselves to identify unique social concerns important to them and developing a culture of service for others to follow. We are honored to have Adonal, Diego and Tracy among us. They truly represent All that is Good in Sport.”

A native of Wisconsin, Mattes was a five-time NCAA All-American and earned 13 All-Big Ten honors and Academic All-Big Ten honors at the University of Wisconsin Madison before coming to ASU. After transferring into the program, she earned two more NCAA All-American honors as a Sun Devil, as well as All-Pac-10 honors and Academic All-Pac-10 honors. Mattes also still ranks third all-time in Sun Devil history in the 400m hurdles with her time of 56.54, making her one of only four women to ever run 57-seconds or faster. That time also was a school record for three years.

A figure on the U.S. national team for 10 years, Mattes ranked as high as seventh in the world in the 400m hurdles before her aspirations for a track and field berth in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games was cut short after she suffered a spinal fracture in an auto crash. She is now training in the five-discipline sport of Modern Pentathlon in hopes of a berth at the London 2012 Games.

Never losing sight of her desire to give back, Mattes has used her success as a world class athlete as a platform to launch and aid multiple philanthropic projects for children focused on sport and education. In 2005, she was appointed as a special representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organization ( with a focus on harnessing the developmental power of tourism in the fight against world poverty. As a part of her work, Mattes helped spearhead the first global conference of Sport and Tourism. Her work has also helped launch “Thank You Small Libraries” in many African nations including Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia. Now 46 in number, the programs continue to prove how basic education and literacy programs are the key to breaking the cycles of poverty.

For more information on the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, please visit