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Voting Open for United States Sports Academy’s 2016 Male and Female Athlete of the Year Award

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Public voting is now open for the United States Sports Academy’s coveted 2016 Athlete of the Year Award, a part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program that annually recognizes the top male and female athletes in the world.

The ballot, now available for online voting, is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong selection process through which outstanding accomplishments of men and women in sports from around the globe are recognized. Everyone is encouraged to cast a vote on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu and suggest to friends to vote as well. Voting runs through 5 p.m. Central time on Friday, 13 January 2017.

Each month, the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes are used to guide the Academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot.

Due to the resounding success of numerous athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, this year’s ballot has been expanded to include 14 men and 14 women from nine countries representing a wide variety of athletic accomplishment.

The nominees for Male Athlete of the Year include: Jake Arrieta, baseball, United States; Andrew Beckwith, baseball, United States; Usain Bolt, sprinting, Jamaica; Stephen Curry, basketball, United States; O.J. Howard, football, United States; LeBron James, basketball, United States; Jon Lester, baseball, United States; Rory McIlroy, golf, Ireland; Andy Murray, tennis, Scotland; Michael Phelps, swimming, United States; Peter Prevc, ski jump, Slovenia; Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer, Portugal; Carson Wentz, football, United States; and Ben Zobrist, baseball, United States.

The nominees for Female Athlete of the Year include: Simone Biles, gymnastics, United States; Morgan Foley, softball, United States; Kendra Harrison, hurdles, United States; Katinka Hosszu, swimming, Hungary; Angelique Kerber, tennis, Germany; Katie Ledecky, swimming, United States; Simone Manuel, swimming, United States; Sandi Morris, pole vault, United States; Candace Parker, basketball, United States; Dominique Scott, distance running, South Africa; Breanna Stewart, basketball, United States; Elaine Thompson, sprint, Jamaica; Lindsey Vonn, skiing, United States; and Serena Williams, tennis, United States.

Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update, as well as released to sports media around the world.

The 2015 Athletes of the Year were New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and American tennis great Serena Williams.

The Athlete of the Year Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serves as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

By Eric Mann

Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at emann@ussa.edu

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