2005 Athletes Of The Year
Oakley, Inc. (NYSE: OO) today announced that two of the company’s sponsored athletes, Lance Armstrong and Annika Sorenstam, have been named 2005 Athletes of the Year by the Associated Press. This is a repeat honor as Armstrong and Sorenstam also won the award for 2004.
“Lance and Annika have set milestones that will continue to inspire generations of sports competitors and enthusiasts for years to come,” said Scott Bowers, vice president of worldwide marketing, Oakley, Inc. “Lance has been part of the Oakley family for more than 20 years, and Annika, more than a decade. We could not have developed breakthroughs like Oakley High Definition Optics® (HDO®) without the ongoing guidance and inspiration of these athletes – we salute the dedication and hard work that earned them the right to be called icons of sports.”
Armstrong, cancer survivor and champion cyclist, won his seventh consecutive Tour de France in July 2005. “Professionally and personally, Oakley and I have had a long history together. Having the dream to compete at the levels I’ve been able to and go out at the top of my sport has been an amazing experience,” said Lance Armstrong. “As unforgiving and demanding as I’ve been of my body over the years I’ve required even more of my equipment and Oakley’s optics have never let me down.” Of the 83 votes cast by AP sportswriters, 30 went to Armstrong, who remains the only male athlete to be chosen four times, let alone consecutively, since the inception of the award in 1931.
Sorenstam, one of the LPGA’s most successful golfers ever, received 47 of 81 votes to become a landslide winner as Female Athlete of the Year. “I’m honored to win this award and have enjoyed my long relationship with Oakley who understands the importance of quality, performance and no compromises when it comes to professional competition,” said Annika Sorenstam. “Optical precision is obviously very crucial to my sport. Whether gauging drives, approach shots or reading greens, Oakley’s HDO® gives me the ability to swing my clubs confidently.” Sorenstam is the first golfer to win the award three straight years since Babe Zaharias achieved the honor in the 1940s. Winning 10 LPGA events, Sorenstam has tallied 66 career victories that put her in range of Kathy Whitworth’s all-time record of 88.
The careers of both competitors have paralleled the rise of Oakley as a world brand, and the company makes no secret of the fact that its breakthroughs in performance technology would not have been achieved without the impossible demands of professional athletes. Bowers concluded, “True competitors like Lance and Annika demand the most of themselves. There’s too much at stake with gear as critical as eyewear when it comes to sports competition and if Oakley’s HDO® didn’t deliver the best optical performance on earth, the best athletes simply wouldn’t use it.”
Both athletes view Oakley eyewear as essential equipment. Armstrong has coveted the company’s PRO M FRAME® for many years. Sorenstam insists on Oakley’s HALF JACKET® eyewear for competition. These designs take full advantage of High Definition Optics® (HDO®), a collective platform of patented technologies that offer unbeatable performance. Oakley’s PRO M FRAME® and HALF JACKET® eyewear with Oakley HDO® meet and surpass specific all optical tests of the American National Standards Institute. HDO® enables the wearer to see clearer, sharper and without the distortion inherent to conventional sunglasses. It also provides unrivaled impact protection, 100% UV filtering and the razor sharp clarity of Oakley Plutonite®, the most optically pure material utilized for eyewear.