Public voting is now open for the United States Sports Academy’s coveted 2017 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 Wednesday, 17 January 2018. The ballot includes 12 men and 12 women from 12 countries.
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.
Nominees for Male Athlete of the Year include: Jose Altuve, baseball, Venezuela; Tom Brady, football, United States; Nathan Chen, figure skating, United States; Sidney Crosby, hockey, Canada; Caeleb Dressel, swimming, United States; Kevin Durant, basketball, United States; Mo Farah, track and field, Great Britain; Marcel Hirscher, skiing, Austria; Rafael Nadal, tennis, Spain; Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer, Portugal; Justin Thomas, golf, United States; and Russell Westbrook, basketball, United States.
Nominees for Female Athlete of the Year include: Almaz Ayana, running, Ethiopia; Heather Bergsma, speed skating, United States; Sylvia Fowles, basketball, United States; Morgan Hurd, gymnastics, United States; Katie Ledecky, swimming, United States; Lieke Martens, soccer, Netherlands; Garbine Muguruza, tennis, Spain; Sung Hyun Park, golf, South Korea; Kelsey Plum, basketball, United States; Mikaela Shiffrin, skiing, United States; Sarah Sjostrom, swimming, Sweden; and Nafissatou Thiam, heptathlon, Belgium.
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 2016 Athletes of the Year were American swimmer Michael Phelps and American gymnast Simone Biles.
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.