By Eric Mann |
University of Southern California sprinter Michael Norman and University of Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for March.
Norman broke the 400-meter world indoor record on 10 March 2018 at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. Norman’s time of 44.52 seconds eclipsed Kerron Clement’s 13-year old record of 44.57 seconds.
Ogunbowale scored 27 points, including the game-winning shot as time expired in overtime, as the Fighting Irish defeated previously unbeaten Connecticut 91-89 in the NCAA women’s basketball national semifinal on 30 March 2018 in Columbus, Ohio, advancing to eventually win the National Championship.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was Argentinian tennis player Juan Martin del Potro and third place went to American baseball player Matt Davidson.
Del Potro defeated Swiss star and the world’s top male tennis player Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 to win the men’s championship at the Indian Wells Masters in California on 18 March 2018.
The Chicago White Sox designated hitter, Davidson matched a Major League Baseball record with three opening day home runs in a win against the Kansas City Royals on 29 March 2018. Davidson became just the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to hit three homers on opening day. He had two solo homers and added a three-run shot in a 14-7 win.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American tennis player Sloane Stephens and third place went to American sprinter Kendall Ellis.
Stephens beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 7-6, 6-1 to win the Miami Open title on 31 March 2018 in Florida. The win catapulted Stephens into the women’s top 10 rankings for the first time in her career at No. 9.
A University of Southern California (USC) senior, Ellis set a collegiate record in the women’s 400-meter dash with a time of 50.34 seconds, defeating freshman sensation and Olympian Sydney McLaughlin (50.36 seconds). Ellis also anchored USC’s 4×400 meter relay to a first place finish with a time of 3:27.45.
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 34th 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.
Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy.