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James, Duffy Named Academy April Athletes of the Month

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Photos via Wikimedia Commons.

By Eric Mann |

American basketball star LeBron James and Bermudan triathlete Flora Duffy have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for April.

James led the Cleveland Cavaliers in all five major statistical categories in its NBA playoff series win against the Indiana Pacers in April 2018. He averaged 41.8 points in the Cavaliers’ four wins against the Pacers and finished the series averaging 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 1 block per game. He shot 55.3 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three-point range.

Duffy dominated in women’s triathlon events on the international stage in April 2018. She took gold in the women’s event at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Series (WTS) in Hamilton, Bermuda, on 28 April 2018.  She also took gold in the women’s triathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier in the month.

The second place finisher on the men’s side was Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi and third place went to American golfer Patrick Reed.

Kawauchi battled harsh weather conditions and finished the prestigious Boston Marathon with a time of 2:15.58, becoming the first Japanese man to win the race since 1987 and the first Asian to win since 2001. This was Kawauchi’s first major title.

Reed won The Masters at August National in Georgia to capture his first major title on 8 April 2018. Reed shot a 15-under-par 273 to win after taking the lead in the second round and never relinquishing it.

The second place finisher on the women’s side was American runner Desiree Linden and third place went to American basketball player Arike Ogunbowale.

Linden won the Boston Marathon women’s race on 16 April 2018, becoming the first American woman to win the prestigious race since Lisa Larsen Rainsberger in 1985. Linden crossed the finish line in 2:39.54 with heavy rain and temperatures in the low 40s.

The NCAA Women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Ogunbowale of Notre Dame scored 18 points, including the game-winning shot as time expired, to lift the Fighting Irish to a 61-58 win over Mississippi State in the women’s national championship basketball game on 1 April 2018. It was the second consecutive game in which Ogunbowale hit a game-winner as time expired. She was previously named the Academy’s Female Athlete of the Month for March.

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.

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