Voting Opens for United States Sports Academy's 2020 Athlete of the Year Awards



DAPHNE, Ala. – Following a tumultuous and historic year in sport, marked by global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Sports Academy is kicking off 2021 with one of the most competitive ballots ever for its annual Male and Female Athletes of the Year program. Voting is now open for the coveted award, which is part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program that annually recognizes the top male and female athletes in the world.

The ballot is open for voting here until 5 p.m. Central time on Friday, 15 January 2021. This year’s ballot includes 12 men and 12 women from 12 countries.

Nominees for Male Athlete of the Year include: Nathan Chen, figure skating, United States; Joshua Cheptegei, athletics, Uganda; Novak Djokovic, tennis, Serbia; Caeleb Dressel, swimming, United States; Mondo Duplantis, pole vault, Sweden; Mo Farah, athletics, Great Britain; Freddie Freeman, baseball, United States; LeBron James, basketball, United States; Dustin Johnson, golf, United States; Robert Lewandowski, football (soccer), Poland; Patrick Mahomes, football, United States; and Tadej Pogačar, cycling, Slovenia.

Nominees for Female Athlete of the Year include: Jamie Anderson, snowboarding, United States; Lucy Bronze, football (soccer), England; Letesenbet Gidey, athletics, Ethiopia; Sifan Hassan, athletics, the Netherlands; Sabrina Ionescu, basketball, United States; Sofia Kenin, tennis, United States; Lilly King, swimming, United States; Cat Osterman, softball, United States; Marte Olsbu Røiseland, biathlon, Norway; Yulimar Rojas, athletics, Venezuela; Mikaela Shiffrin, alpine skiing, United States; and A’ja Wilson, basketball, United States.

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.

Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update, as well as released to sports media around the world.

The 2019 Athletes of the Year were American figure skater Nathan Chen and Estonian freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru.

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, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 37th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.

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