2010 December

Spain Reigns as Villa Edges Nadal on the Male Side; Korean Ices Female Side in Athlete of the Year

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David Villa
Kim Yu-Na
Ashton Eaton
Kim Clijsters
Lauren Jackson
Cristie Kerr
Phil Mickelson
Rafael Nadal
Manny Paquiao
David Rudisha
Serena Williams
Shaun White

David Villa

Five soccer goals and 200 skating points earned David Villa of Spain and Kim Yu-Na of South Korea the honor of being named the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

The two champions were selected through a worldwide ballot that saw the public cast hundreds of thousands of votes thanks to distribution through the websites of NBC Sports and USA Today.

Villa’s five goals helped lead his country to its first FIFA World Cup title. He took 32 shots on goal and scored the winning goals in the first and second round of the playoffs. Villa scored both goals in a critical 2-0 win over Honduras.

Villa edged out countryman Rafael Nadal, the world’s No. 1 tennis player, who won his fifth French Open, second Wimbledon, and first U.S. Open in 2010. Having won the Australian Open in 2009, the 24-year-old became the youngest to win a career Grand Slam.

While Nadal dominated his sport, Yu-Na dominated hers. The world’s No. 1 figure skater won the ladies’ singles gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and is the first female skater to surpass the 200-point mark under the International Skating Union judging system. She also dominated the voting on the Female Athlete of the Year ballot.

The top names in women’s tennis took the second and third spots on the female ballot. Kim Clijsters of Belgium finished second after winning her second consecutive and third career U.S. Open title. She was named WTA and Laureus World Comeback Player of the Year one year after coming out of a two-year retirement. American Serena Williams placed third after she won her fifth career Australian Open and fourth Wimbledon for a total of 13 career Grand Slam titles.

Boxer Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines, the Academy’s 2009 Male Athlete of the Year, placed third after becoming the first boxer in history to win 10 world championship belts in eight weight classes.

Finishing fourth on the male side was American college track star Ashton Eaton, who set the world record in the heptathlon, won two NCAA indoor titles in the heptathlon, and won three outdoor titles in the decathlon.

Australian basketball pro Lauren Jackson placed fourth on the female side. Seattle’s forward/center was the WNBA MVP and Finals MVP as the Storm defeated the Atlanta Dream for its second championship.

Master’s golf champion Phil Mickelson of the United States and Kenyan track star David Rudisha, who broke the 800-meter world record twice in 2010, finished fifth and sixth on the male ballot.

Three-time overall World Cup ski champion Lindsey Vonn, who won a gold and a bronze in the 2010 Winter Olympics, and University of Connecticut forward Maya Moore, a consensus All-American for the team that holds the longest winning streak in the history of college basketball, finished fifth and sixth on the female ballot.

The Academy’s international reach has always been strong, and that was reflected in the final vote results. Each of the top three finishers on the men’s and women’s sides hailed from countries other than the United States.

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. The Athlete of the Month is selected by an international voting committee comprised of media members and representatives of sports organizations and governing bodies.

Auburn Quarterback, Sprinter Named Academy's Alabama Athletes of the Year

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Cameron Newton

Cameron Newton

Two of Auburn University’s athletic teams dramatically improved their performances by acquiring 21-year-old junior college transfers in 2010. And those two transfers were named Male and Female Alabama Athlete of the Year by the United States Sports Academy.

Cameron Newton, the Academy’s Alabama Male Athlete of the Year, is the quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in dominant fashion and was named Associated Press College Football Player of the Year, along with many other accolades.

Sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson was named Alabama Female Athlete of the Year after winning the 200 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, becoming the second Auburn woman to win the 200 meters at the NCAA indoor meet, joining Kerron Stewart, who won the title in 2007.

Newton, who started his career at the University of Florida before transferring to Blinn (Texas) Junior College and leading them to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship, transferred to Auburn this past year and took over a starting role for a team that was 8-5 in 2009 and 5-7 in 2008. In the 2010 regular season as a Tiger, he completed 67.89 percent of his passes for 2,254 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions, a passer rating of 185.57 (No. 2 in the nation). He carried the ball 228 times for 1,336 yards (111.33 average per game, No. 11 nationally). This led to a 13-0 season and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game against Oregon, which will take place in Glendale, Ariz. 10 January 2011.

Sheniqua Ferguson

Sheniqua Ferguson

Ferguson transferred from Southwest Missouri Junior College this past year and helped the Tigers improve from 41st in the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to sixth in 2010. They were tied for 25th in the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships, and finished 12th in 2010. In the outdoor season, she placed sixth nationally in both the 100 and 200 meters and ran on the seventh-place team in the 4 x 100-meter relays. She was named SEC Female Runner of the Year after she won the SEC title in the 100 meters by clocking a season-best time of 11.19 seconds, which ranks fourth in Auburn history. In the 200 meters, she had a time of 23.09 in the finals, after posting a mark of 23.08 in the preliminaries, tying for fifth in school history. She helped the 4 x 100-meter relay team win its second straight SEC crown in that event, with a time of 43.38, the third best in school history. She earned the Commissioner’s Trophy as the high female point scorer at the meet.

The Alabama Athlete of the Year award is given to an athlete beyond the high school level who was either born in, is currently playing in, or has previously participated in sports at any level within the state of Alabama.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the 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.

Image of the Athlete: Rush, Weber, Rezner Capture it in Different Ways

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Few artists can capture the image of the athlete like Rick Rush, Harry Weber and John Rezner. They each have different ways of capturing that image, but all three were named 2011 Sport Artist of the Year by the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA).

Rick Rush

Rick Rush

Rush does it through painting, Weber with bronze statues and Rezner with face jugs, but all can thank Rush for his battle to earn a trade with his creations.

Rush, the 2011 ASAMA Sport Artist of the Year, Painter, won a significant court battle for his right to draw, paint, and sell the images of star athletes when Tiger Woods sued for royalties on a painting Rush made of the golfer when he won the 1997 Master’s golf tournament. In 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Rush’s favor, finding the paintings to be a form of artistic expression, and the protection of such works under the First Amendment to outweigh whatever interest the state may have in enforcing the right of publicity.

Harry Weber

Harry Weber

Weber, the 2011 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor, is a man who has had a busy decade decorating the country with bronze statues. Thirty-six out of forty-four of his most noted works have been displayed at major venues over the last decade. This includes 10 statues displayed at the St. Louis Cardinals’ newest version of the Busch Stadium. Weber’s sculptures are in a permanent collection at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. and are featured at the Museum of Fine Arts in Newport, R.I. Weber has won major awards at national juried competitions, and his bronze sculptures are in many private collections throughout the world.

John Rezner

John Rezner

Rezner, the 2011 Sport Artist of the Year, Ceramics, is a potter known for his “face jugs,” jugs shaped with an individual’s facial features. The Fairhope, Alabama-based artist makes pottery, which is on display all over the world, from clay he digs from his own land. Baldwin County clay is highly prized for its aesthetic qualities. A member of the Academy’s Art Committee, in 2006 Rezner created a face of the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, leader of millions of Shaolin Buddhists. He has been commissioned to make face jugs of famous baseball players for the Academy’s “Mr. Baseball” campaign, a worldwide online vote to name a new baseball statue that is to be erected in front of the Academy next year.

The Sport Artist of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. The recipient may use a variety of art media to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and the ecstasy of sport.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA, a division of the United States Sports Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,500 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints, and photographs.

The museum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

New Dynasties Earn Academy Team of the Year Honors

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Spanish national team won its first FIFA World Cup in 2010.

The newest dynasties in international soccer and women’s college basketball earned the United States Sports Academy’s Men’s and Women’s Team of the Year awards for 2010.

The Spanish national team, which won its first FIFA World Cup in 2010, was named Men’s Team of the Year. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, which is riding the longest winning streak in the history of college basketball, is the Women’s Team of the Year for the second year in a row.

Spain is currently the reigning World and European champion, having won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. In July 2008, Spain rose to the top of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in the team’s history, becoming the first nation to top the ranking without previously having won the World Cup. Between November 2006 and June 2009, Spain went undefeated for a record-tying 35 consecutive matches, a record shared with Brazil, including a record 15-game winning streak and thus earning third place in the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The Huskies topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62 on 21 December.

The Huskies topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden’s UCLA men’s team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62 on 21 December. They have not lost since 6 April 2008, in the NCAA tournament semifinals. Only twice during the record run has a team come within single digits of Connecticut — Stanford in the NCAA championship game last season and Baylor in early November.

Connecticut established itself as the marquee program in the women’s game, the benchmark by which all others are measured. The Huskies already own seven national titles in 17 years, four perfect seasons under head coach Geno Auriemma. They’ve won five titles in the last nine years and are shooting for their second “three-pete” national title under Auriemma.

Haitian Men's Amputee National Team Visits Academy

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Haitian Men's Amputee National Soccer Team

During a trip organized by Dr. Fred Sorrells, the President of the International Institute of Sport (IIOS), the Haitian Men’s Amputee National team visited the United States Sports Academy on Tuesday, 14 December.

Sorrells helped put Haiti’s amputee soccer team together after an earthquake devastated the country earlier this year. He was seeking a therapeutic way to help the disabled in Haiti when he discovered the Amputee World Cup being held in Argentina.

The soccer team gained international recognition when they competed in the Amputee World Cup in October, despite not winning the championship. With only a month of training before the first championship game, the world marveled at their pure athletic ability and sheer determination.

The team is now touring America to spread their message — that those who face disabilities are capable of great things, if given the chance.

Local Ceramic Potter Wins Academy Distinguished Service Award

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John Rezner, a ceramic potter known for his “face jugs,” will receive a Distinguished Service Award from the United States Sports Academy.

The Fairhope, Ala.-based artist makes pottery from clay he digs from his own land but is seen all over the world. Baldwin County clay is highly prized for its aesthetic qualities.

A member of the Academy’s Art Committee, he created a face jug – jug shaped with an individual’s facial features – of the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, leader of millions of Shaolin Buddhists.

“I presented (the jug) as a symbol of our two cultures merging,” Rezner said.

The jug is now in China as part of the Shaolin Temple’s Museum collection. The Abbot received it when he visited the Academy’s Daphne campus in 2006 to receive an honorary doctorate.

Rezner has now been commissioned to make face jugs of famous baseball players for the Academy’s “Mr. Baseball” campaign, a world-wide online vote to name a new baseball statue that is to be erected in front of the Academy next year.

Rezner’s pottery is the combination of three of his greatest passions: his family, the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and traditional pottery techniques. His work is fired using an anagama kiln, which is an ancient Japanese cave-like pottery kiln that uses the flame from burning wood as an artistic element. For generations, the anagama techniques have been adapted into Southern pottery.

The Academy’s Distinguished Service Award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research, or service. Each nominee must possess an extensive background in sports. This means that the individual must have had significant dealings in his or her area of sports for more than 10 years. While the DSA is separate from the Academy’s Awards of Sport, its recipients also receive the coveted Order of the Eagle Exemplar for their achievements.

Academy President Attends IOC's 7th World Conference on Sport

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Photographed from left: Jean Durry, Founder of the French National Sport Museum, France; Professor Konstantino Georgiadis, Honorary Dean of the International Olympic Academy, Greece; Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, President of the United States Sports Academy, United States; and Dr. Franco Ascani, President of the International Sport Cinema and Television Federation (FICTS), Italy.

Photographed from left: Jean Durry, Founder of the French National Sport Museum, France; Professor Konstantino Georgiadis, Honorary Dean of the International Olympic Academy, Greece; Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, President of the United States Sports Academy, United States; and Dr. Franco Ascani, President of the International Sport Cinema and Television Federation (FICTS), Italy.

United States Sports Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich recently traveled to Durban, South Africa, to attend the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 7th World Conference on Sport, Education, and Culture, as a member of the IOC Commission for Culture and Olympic Education.

The theme of the conference, “Giving a Voice to Youth,” allowed Commission members and young people alike to discuss ways to add value to the Olympic experience, education for sustainable development, developing a culture of healthy lifestyles, and other related topics in an open forum.

Serving as one of the conference moderator was the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Eagle Award recipient, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Al Hussein, the President of the International Equestrian Federation. Princess Haya was selected to receive the Eagle Award, the Academy’s highest honor, in recognition of her contribution to equestrian sports and the Olympic Movement.

Academy Toys for Tots Campaign Concludes

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Toys for Tots at the US Sports Academy

The United States Sports Academy’s faculty and staff gathered with Marines from Spanish Fort and Toys for Tots regional coordinator Shinora Redmond on Friday, 10 December, as they retrieved the toy donations collected at the Academy.

Children from Spanish Fort Elementary School smile while gathered around their donations to the Academy’s Toys for Tots campaign.

Long considered the region’s largest collection center for the Toys for Tots program, the Academy teamed up with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Foundation to help underprivileged children in Mobile and Baldwin Counties enjoy a memorable Christmas for the 16th consecutive year. In spite of the struggling economy, contributions from local residents and businesses made this years collection the largest ever.

People can still drop off toys at the Academy, One Academy Drive in Daphne, throughout the holiday season. The Academy is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Toys donated between now and Christmas will be given to the Salvation Army for distribution.

The primary goal of the Toys for Tots program is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. Since the inception of Toys for Tots, more than 400 million toys have been distributed to more than 188 million needy children.

Arizona State's Two Blocked Extra Points Leads to College Football Game of the Week

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Arizona State vs. Arizona
Arizona State vs. Arizona
Arizona State vs. Arizona
Arizona State vs. Arizona

Arizona State junior defensive end James Brooks blocked a potential game-winning extra point, then blocked a would-be game-tying extra point to give the Sun Devils bowl eligibility and a 30-29 victory over Arizona in United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Week.

Visiting Arizona State rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter, only to allow the Wildcats to march down the field for a tying touchdown, one point from ending the Sun Devils’ season.

The 6-foot-5 Brooks came through when his team needed him most, sending a groan through Arizona Stadium and the game to overtime by high-jumping to get Luis Zendejas’ kick.

After matching field goals by Zendejas and ASU’s Thomas Weber—his fifth—in the first overtime, Arizona State’s Cameron Marshall bulled his way through for a 2-yard score. Arizona had a quick answer, with David Douglas taking a back pass in from 9 yards out.

Just when the game seemed headed to a third overtime, Brooks sprang again, leaping up to get a chunk of another of Zendejas’ kicks, sending it wobbling just past the right upright.

The College Football Game of the Week, voted upon by a national panel of experts, is nominated for the College Football Game of the Year at the end of the regular season.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Decathlete/Heptathlete Eaton Earns All-Around Athlete Award

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Photo credit: Kirby Lee

Photo credit: Kirby Lee

Decathletes are always considered all-around athletes, but five-time NCAA Champion Ashton Eaton has been named winner of the Jim Thorpe All-Around Award by the United States Sports Academy because of his accomplishments in the decathlon and heptathlon.

The decathlon is the track and field competition that combines 10 events, and the heptathlon is a combination of seven events and involves male competitors in indoor track meets and female athletes in outdoor meets.

Eaton set a new world record for points when he won his second straight national heptathlon title at NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 13. He surpassed then-University of Idaho student Dan O’Brien, who won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and three consecutive world titles in the decathlon. Ashton, a senior at Oregon at the time, acquired a total score of 6,499 points in the heptathlon, passing O’Brien’s 6,476 points.

Eaton capped his illustrious career at Oregon in June by becoming the first athlete to win three consecutive NCAA championships in the decathlon.

The two-time United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association Athlete of the Year (both indoor and outdoor) has also won five Pac-10 Conference championships: three in the decathlon, one in the 110-meter hurdles and one in the long jump.

The Jim Thorpe All-Around Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in multiple sports and/or multiple events of the same sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of versatility, strength, speed, flexibility, conditioning and training that exemplify superior athletic prowess.

Past winners of the Thorpe All-Around Award include Deion Sanders, Herschel Walker, Willie Gault, Danny Ainge, Julius Peppers and Brian Clay.

Everyone Can Submit Nominations to Name "Mr. Baseball"

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Nominations are being accepted online for the United States Sports Academy’s “Mr. Baseball” competition. The purpose of the ballot will be to determine the greatest baseball player of all time, and to name the impending new addition by Fairhope sculptor Bruce Larsen to the Academy’s Sport Sculpture Park.

Baseball fans can submit their nominations by visiting Greatest Baseball Player of All Time nomination form. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, 4 February, 2011. Larsen’s new sculpture will be named after the winner.

Larsen, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives’ (ASAMA) 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor, is well known for his found object art. Believing that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Larsen uses scrap metal and other salvage materials to create masterpieces, including some that are displayed on the Academy’s Daphne campus. These include “Borzov” (named after Valeri Borzov, the Russian Olympic sprint champion), “Michael” (named after Michael Jordan, the renowned American basketball player), “Iron Bowl” (depicting American football players), and “Nastia” (named after Nastia Liukin, the Russian Olympic gymnastic gold medalist in the All-Around event).

Founded in 1984, ASAMA, a division of the United States Sports Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,500 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints, and photographs.

The museum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Academy Helps Promotes Mobile Bay Area to World Leisure Congress

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Left to right: Jack Agrios from Alberta, Canada; Secretary General Dr. Chris Edington from the University of Northern Iowa; Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy President; Chairman of the Board Derek Casey from Edinburgh, United Kingdom; and Dr. Ricardo Uvinha from Sao Paulo, Brazil.<br />

The United States Sports Academy participated in the effort to bring the World Leisure Organization (WLO) to Mobile, Ala, for its 2014 World Leisure Congress. Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (center) met with members of the WLO Board of Directors who visited the Daphne campus this past summer, including (left to right) Jack Agrios from Alberta, Canada; Secretary General Dr. Chris Edington from the University of Northern Iowa; Chairman of the Board Derek Casey from Edinburgh, United Kingdom; and Dr. Ricardo Uvinha from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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