By Eric Mann |
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic and American gymnast Simone Biles have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for August.
Djokovic became the first player ever to win all nine Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Masters 1000 events in a career with a win against Switzerland’s Roger Federer in the Cincinnati Masters final on 19 August 2018 in Ohio. Djokovic won 6-4, 6-4 and became the first player ever to complete the feat dubbed the “Golden Masters.”
Biles became the first woman to win five U.S. all-around titles and swept the top spot in all four events at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston, Mass., on 19 August 2018. Biles is the first gymnast to win gold in all four events and the all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships since Dominique Dawes in 1994.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American baseball player Cole Hamels and third place went to American golfer Brooks Koepka.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Hamels earned National League Pitcher of the Month honors after pitching for a league best 0.69 ERA with 38 strikeouts in the month of August. Hamels didn’t allow more than one run in any of his six starts and the Cubs won all six games in which he pitched, including a 7-1 complete game win on 23 August against Cincinnati.
Koepka shot a 16-under 264 to win the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo., on 12 August 2018. It was Koepka’s second major title of the season after winning the U.S. Open in June. He is currently the second ranked player in the world.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American softball player Haylie McCleney and third place went to American soccer player Alex Morgan.
McCleney led the United States with a .520 batting average, 13 hits, 21 total bases, 14 runs and a .613 on base percentage as the Americans finished with a 10-0 record on the way to winning a second consecutive Women’s Softball World Championship in Japan in August. McCleney added three stolen bases and six RBIs as the Americans qualified for the softball tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Morgan scored the championship-clinching goal in a 4-1 win for the United States over Japan as the Americans clinched the Tournament of Nations championship in Kansas City, Kansas, on 2 August 2018. Morgan led all scorers in the tournament with four goals.
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.