ORLANDO, Fla. (March 6, 2017) – The best in amateur athletics will be put to a public vote this week, as the field of 18 semifinalists – including winners of twelve gold medals, two national championships and various other prestigious accolades – will be narrowed to six in the race for the historic 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award presented by Eastbay.
Athletes on this year’s select group of semifinalists are: Wisconsin volleyball star Lauren Carlini; Clemson football national champion Deshaun Watson; USA Water Polo gold medalist Ashleigh Johnson; U.S. gold medal wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis; U.S. shooting gold medalist Ginny Thrasher; USA Taekwondo bronze medalist Jackie Galloway; Final Five gymnastics gold medalists Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman; college basketball stars Malik Monk (Kentucky), Lonzo Ball (UCLA) and Brianna Turner (Notre Dame); USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner Kyle Lewis; USA Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison; USA Track & Field standouts Matt Centrowitz Jr. and Vashti Cunningham; USA Diving silver medalist Steele Johnson; and Stanford golf champion Maverick McNealy.
“The AAU James E. Sullivan Award is an absolutely one-of-a-kind honor for all of our semifinalists,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “We are excited to have such a vast array of sports represented and cherish this unique opportunity to annually recognize the most successful athletes in amateur athletics.”
The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize contributions and achievements from amateur athletes across the country.
World renowned golfer Robert “Bobby” Jones received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win the award include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986), Michael Phelps (2003) and Shawn Johnson (2008). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973), University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) and Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (2014) have also earned the prestigious honor.
“This is an exciting group of semifinalists for the 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award,” said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. “Each and every athlete embodies everything this award aims to celebrate – significant athletic achievement, leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship – both on and off the field.”
Voting for the award is open to the public here. The semifinalist round opened at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 6 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 13. Finalists will be named on Wednesday, March 15 and the AAU James E. Sullivan Award presentation will be held at the prestigious New York Athletic Club on Tuesday, April 11.
For more on the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, visit www.aausullivan.org
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