Tennis players Alexander Zverev of Germany and Garbine Muguruza of Spain have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for August.
Zverev defeated current world number 3 men’s singles tennis player Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-3, 6-4 in the Rogers Cup final on 14 August 2017 in Montreal. It was Zverev’s second consecutive tournament win in August, having earlier in the month defeated Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to win the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. Zverev is now ranked fourth in the world in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings for men’s singles.
Muguruza defeated Romania’s Simona Halep 6-1, 6-0 to win the Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 20 August 2017. It was Muguruza’s second win of the season after she claimed victory at Wimbledon earlier in the year. She defeated a host of top players on the way to the finals including American Madison Keys, the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, and is currently the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) top ranked singles player.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American baseball player Giancarlo Stanton and third place went to Qatari track and field athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim.
Stanton was named the National League Player of the Month for August after hitting 18 home runs, a league record for August. He also had 37 RBIs, 28 runs and an .899 slugging percentage in the month. He hit .349 with a .433 on base percentage, and 24 of his 38 hits went for extra bases. He broke a Miami Marlins record for most home runs in a season after hitting his 43rd of the season on 14 August 2017.
Barshim won gold in the men’s high jump by clearing 2.35 meters (7 feet and 8.52 inches) at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in August. He followed that performance by clearing 2.4 meters (7 feet and 10.49 inches) at the IAAF Diamond League meet later in the month, setting a meet record and a world leading mark for this year.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American runner Emma Coburn and third place went to American softball player Kelly Barnhill.
Coburn broke an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships record with a time of 9:02.58 to win gold in the 3,000 meter steeplechase on 11 August 2017. Coburn is the first American since 1952 to win gold in the steeplechase at the World Championships. Her time shaved five seconds off her own American record.
Barnhill pitched a complete game no-hitter as the United States women’s national softball team defeated Mexico 9-0 and won the Pan American Championship in the Dominican Republic on 13 August 2017. Barnhill finished the tournament with a 3-0 record, 40 strikeouts and a 0.35 ERA in 20 innings of work.
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. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.
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, Medallion Series, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 33rd year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.
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.
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 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.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.
By Eric Mann
Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy.