The best in amateur athletics will be put to a public vote this week, as the field of 28 semifinalists will be narrowed in the race for the historic 88th AAU James E. Sullivan Award.
This year’s group of semifinalists includes:
“We are so excited about this year’s group of AAU James E. Sullivan Award semifinalists,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “This is a unique opportunity for us to recognize amateur athletes across a number of different sports – from para-equestrian and curling to men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.”
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.
“As they do every year, this group of semifinalists embodies everything we aim to celebrate with the AAU James E. Sullivan Award,” said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. “These athletes are exceptional athletes – some of the top performers in their particular sports – but they are also extraordinary people who display leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship both on and off the field.”
Voting for the award is open to the public at www.aausullivan.org. The semifinalist round opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Finalists will be named on Wednesday, March 21 and the AAU James E. Sullivan Award presentation will be held at the prestigious New York Athletic Club on Tuesday, April 17.