By Eric Mann |
A pair of top figure skaters swept the United States Sports Academy’s contest for March Male and Female Athlete of the Month. American Nathan Chen won the men’s award while Russia’s Alina Zagitova took home the women’s honor.
Chen defended his world title at the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships in Japan on 23 March 2019. Chen scored a total of 323.42 points to fend off Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who took second place. For the season, Chen won three gold medals on the grand prix circuit, a third consecutive national title and a second consecutive world title.
Zagitova won the women’s gold medal at the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championship in Japan on 22 March 2019. Zagitova scored a total of 237.50 points, 12.74 more than her nearest competitor, to win the title.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was Ugandan athlete Joshua Cheptegei and third place went to Canadian hockey player Connor McDavid.
Cheptegei won the men’s elite title at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Cross-Country Championship in Denmark on 30 March 2019. Cheptegei became the first Ugandan to win the men’s elite title with a time of 31:40 in the 10km race.
McDavid earned NHL First Star honors after leading the league with 20 assists and 27 total points for the Edmonton Oilers in the month of March. McDavid registered at least one point in 12 of 14 games in the month, including an eight-game multi-point streak, the longest run of its kind since 2007.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu and third place went to American swimmer Lilly King.
Andreescu topped three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to win the Indian Wells Masters tournament on 17 March 2019. Andreescu, 18, is the first wild card winner and second youngest to claim the title in tournament history.
King became the first woman to swim the 100-yard breaststroke in less than 56 seconds, finishing in 55.73, and won gold in the 200-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Swimming Championships in Austin, Texas, on 22 March 2019. King is the first woman to complete a four-year sweep of both breaststroke disciplines.
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.