By Eric Mann |
Norwegian biathlete Johannes Thingnes Boe and Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru have been named the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for January.
Boe captured his 11th win of the season in the men’s pursuit event at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in Italy on 26 January 2019. Boe moved closer to the single-season Biathlon World Cup win record of 14 in a season, currently held by France’s Martin Fourcade.
Sildaru won gold, silver, and bronze in ski events at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., in January 2019. Sildaru, 16, took gold in the ski slopestyle event with a score of 99.00 points. She took silver in the ski superpipe event and bronze in the ski big air final.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic and third place went to American figure skater Nathan Chen.
Djokovic won his record seventh Australian Open title and third consecutive Grand Slam crown after defeating Spain’s Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in Melbourne on 28 January 2019.
Chen won his third consecutive United States Figure Skating men’s championship in Detroit, Mich., on 27 January 2019. Chen won with 342.22 total points, beating his nearest competitor by 58.21 points.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka and third place went to American figure skater Alysa Liu.
Osaka became the first women’s player since 2001 to win her first two Grand Slam titles back-to-back after defeating Petra Kvitova in the women’s final at the Australian Open on 26 January 2019. Osaka captured a dramatic championship match 7-6, 5-7, 6-4.
Liu, 13, became the youngest-ever U.S. Figure Skating champion after finishing with 217.51 points at the championship event in Detroit, Mich., on 24 January 2019. Liu landed eight triple jumps and two axels in the same skate.
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 director of communications and marketing at the United States Sports Academy.