By Eric Mann |
Croatian soccer player Luka Modric and German tennis player Angelique Kerber have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for July.
Modric won the Golden Ball Award as the most outstanding player of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Modric scored two goals and an assist and was considered dominant in the midfield, setting the tempo and dictating the pace of play as Croatia made an improbable run to the World Cup final.
Kerber defeated American Serena Williams 6-3, 6-3 to win the women’s Wimbledon title on 14 July 2018 in London. It was the first Wimbledon title for Kerber, who is the first German woman to win the tournament since Steffi Graf in 1996.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was French soccer player Kylian Mbappe and third place went to Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.
Mbappe, 19, earned the FIFA Young Player Award at the 2018 World Cup in Russia after scoring four goals in the tournament in July. Mbappe joined the legendary Pelé as only the second teenager to score a goal in a World Cup final, a 4-2 win for France against Croatia.
Djokovic defeated South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 to win his fourth Wimbledon championship on 15 July 2018 in London. Djokovic captured his 13th Grand Slam title and first major since 2016.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American gymnast Simone Biles and third place went to American swimmer Kathleen Baker.
Biles won the all-around title at the U.S. Classic in Columbus, Ohio, on 28 July 2018. It was Biles’s first competition since her dominating performance in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Biles finished with an all-around score of 58.70 in the event, holding off runners-up Riley McCusker and Morgan Hurd.
Baker set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 58 seconds flat at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, Calif., on 28 July 2018. Baker became the first American swimmer to hold this record since Natalie Coughlin swam 58.97 in 2008.
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.