2012 December

World’s Top Olympians Voted Academy’s 2012 Male and Female Athletes of the Year

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Two of the world’s most dominating superstars at the 2012 London Olympic Games earned the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 Male and Female Athletes of the Year award—Usain Bolt and Serena Williams.

Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter, continues to reign as the world’s fastest man by successfully repeating as the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters and 200 meters. Bolt is the first man ever to win both events in successive Summer Olympics. In London, he won the 100 in an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds. He then won the 200 in 19.32—0.13 seconds off his world record. Bolt added a third gold as the anchor of Jamaica’s world record-setting 400-meter relay team that finished in 36.84 seconds.

Usain Bolt, 2012 Male Athlete of the Year

Williams took gold in the women’s singles and doubles at the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the only person to hold a career Golden Grand Slam in Olympic competition. The American tennis player also won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She now possesses 15 Grand Slam titles overall, which is sixth on the all-time list.

The two Olympic standouts dominated the voting in the 28th consecutive year that the Academy has overseen the Athlete of the Year award, which was done in conjunction with NBC Sports. Hundreds of thousands of sports fans worldwide selected the most outstanding male and female athletes in online balloting on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu. The ballot included 12 males and 12 females and voting lasted from Dec. 1 to Dec. 21.

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports from around the globe. Each month, the public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first two weeks of every month. The votes, along with an Academy selection committee, choose the male and female winners monthly who then become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor. The monthly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of The Sport Update.

In 2011, the Male Athlete of the Year was Serbia’s No. 1-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic and the Female Athlete of the Year was Taiwan’s No. 1-ranked women’s golfer Yani Tseng. They both dominated the voting that drew up to 50,000 votes a day from across the world.

This year’s ballot includes a mixture of athletes from 11 different countries representing a wide variety of popular sports. Their performances stood out and provided some of the best highlights and stories in sports during the past year.

Serena Williams, 2012 Female Athlete of the Year

Finishing second in the male Athlete of the Year category was another Olympian, American swimmer Michael Phelps. He is now the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, including 18 gold. The 27-year-old also holds the distinction as the first man to win the same event at three successive Olympics when he clinched the men’s 200-meter individual medley gold medal at the 2012 London Games.

The runner up to Williams in the Female Athlete of the Year voting was 17-year-old American Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, who lived up to her hype. She completed the 200-meter backstroke in a world record of 2 minutes, 4.06 seconds. The first American woman to qualify for seven Olympic events, Franklin ended up taking home four gold medals and one bronze medal. One of her gold medals was earned on the American 4×100-meter medley relay team that set a world record in a time of 3:52.05.

The third place winner on the men’s ballot was Djokovic, last year’s Athlete of the Year, who remained the world’s No. 1 tennis player this season. In one of the greatest matches this year, he outlasted Rafael Nadal in the longest Grand Slam match in history—5 hours and 53 minutes—to win the Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Vonn finished third in the voting for Female Athlete of the Year. She clinched her fourth FIS Alpine World Cup overall title, which is the most of any American skier and second only to Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, who has won six. Vonn set a women’s record for most points in a World Cup season with 1,980.

Academy Seeks to Deliver Olympic Values Education Program Online to the World

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The United States Sports Academy is working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to develop a new Olympic Values Education Program (OVEP) that could be delivered online across the world.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left) and Dr. Norbert Mueller, professor at Mainz University in Germany, hold a bronze bust of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympic Games, in late November at International Olympic Committee meetings in Amsterdam.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left) and Dr. Norbert Mueller, professor at Mainz University in Germany, hold a bronze bust of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympic Games, in late November at International Olympic Committee meetings in Amsterdam.

Also because the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, would be celebrating his 150th birthday this coming year, the Academy is discussing an online program paying tribute to his life and work to establish the Olympic Movement. The IOC is planning to hold a worldwide essay competition asking contestants to write about Coubertin, which the Academy has offered to help put online to the world’s Olympic Committees. Essay winners would receive a bronze bust of Coubertin.

Five years ago, the Academy and the IOC developed an online OVEP program. Dr. Tomas Sithole, the Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Development of the IOC, visited the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus in early November to discuss revamping the course. He met with Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, who also sits on the IOC’s Commission for Culture and Olympic Education that is overseen by Sithole. That commission advises the IOC on the promotion of culture and Olympic education and supports the IOC programs and activities related to the education of youth through sport.

OVEP was further discussed during a special meeting at the 8th edition of the IOC World Conference on Sport, Culture and Education Nov. 25-27 in Amsterdam, which Dr. Rosandich attended. It was decided that the Academy would redevelop the current version of OVEP for worldwide distribution.

Sithole says he would like to see OVEP reach even more nations across the globe in the future.

“We want to engage young people across the world and promote sport education and Olympic values,” says Sithole, who visited the Academy after attending the United Nations for talks about using sport to enhance the development of youth and peace.

In Amsterdam at the IOC meetings, Dr. Rosandich held talks with Dr. Norbert Mueller, professor at Mainz University in Germany and president of the Pierre de Coubertin Society. Dr. Mueller has written a book on Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and donated copies to the United States Sports Academy’s library. Those discussions led to plans for creating an online program paying tribute to Coubertin’s success in reestablishing the Olympic Games.

Coubertin was born in Paris on Jan. 1, 1863. Beginning in 1890, Coubertin worked to start up the Olympic Games again. After a failure in 1892, he organized the International Athletics Congress in Paris in 1894, after which the IOC was created and the modern Olympic Games were born. Coubertin then took over as IOC President and held this position until 1925, when he became Honorary President for life.


Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister to Receive Honorary Doctorate at Academy

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Y.A.B. Tan Sri Dato’ HJ Muhyiddin HJ Mohd Yassin, who serves both as Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, is being honored by the United States Sports Academy with a 2012 International Honorary Doctorate for his effort to build his nation’s sports programs for its youth.

Muhyiddin is scheduled to receive the Honorary Doctorate during a ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 in the Main Gallery at the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Ala., and a reception will follow.

Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (right) welcomes Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich (center) and KH Sports World Board of Directors Chairwoman Hisham Suhaily Othman (left). Muhyiddin is scheduled to receive his International Honorary Doctorate at 5 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Academy's Daphne, Ala., campus.

Muhyiddin, who has served in his current roles since 2009, is being recognized for supporting efforts to enhance physical education to help in the building of a nation. He did this by creating the “One Student – One Sport” initiative. It aims to foster a vigorous sports program for the nation’s youth.

Muhyiddin directed the implementation of his initiative in the schools. Although the “One Student – One Sport” initiative is geared toward the students, he saw a need to provide more physical education and sports training to the nation’s physical education teachers and coaches who are in the schools.

This endeavor is seen as important for the benefits that it brings the nation’s youth and for the way that scholastic sports can build a national feeder system for sports, yielding the most talent to compete on the world stage.

The Malaysia Ministry of Education (MOE), which Muhyiddin heads, approved the United States Sports Academy’s latest sports education program for Malaysia—the International Diploma in Physical Education and Scholastic Sports (IDPESS). The diploma program offered to nearly 1,000 Malaysian educators from June to December, imparts the latest in teaching techniques and skills to them.

This effort is but one part of a program to enhance the country’s physical education programs as the nation’s leaders, including Muhyiddin, look to develop a new comprehensive physical education and scholastic sports program in the nation’s schools.

Muhyiddin was educated in his native Malaysia, earning his bachelor’s degree with honors in Economics and Malay Studies in 1971 at the Universitiy of Malaya, one of the country’s renowned schools.

In an effort to serve his beloved country, Muhyiddin has served in a number of government roles since becoming a member of the Parliament of Malaysia in 1978. Some of his recent posts include Minister of Youth and Sports (1995-1999), Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (1999-2004), and Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (2004-2008).

Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Al Hussein of Jordan Receives Academy's 2010 Eagle Award

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For her contribution to equestrian sports and the Olympic Movement, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Al Hussein of Jordan, President of the International Equestrian Federation, was named the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Eagle Award.

Princess Haya was Jordan’s first female professional athlete and the first female to represent her country internationally in sport, as a 13-year-old show jumper. She was the first female to medal in equestrian sports at the Pan-Arab Games, earning a bronze in show jumping. She also competed in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich presented the 2010 Eagle Award, the Academy’s highest honor, to Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Al Hussein of Jordan, the President of the International Equestrian Federation, for the leadership she demonstrated in staging the 2010 Alltech International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Kentucky, in October 2010.

In 2010, she became a member of the International Relations Committee for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after serving three years on the IOC. In November 2010, she was re-elected to serve her 2nd term as President of the International Equestrian Federation, having been first elected in 2006. She is also president and founder of the International Jordanian Athletes Cultural Association.

Princess Haya has a strong humanitarian presence both on local and international levels. Her work and interests focus on humanitarian issues and human development concentrated primarily on the areas of health, education, youth and sports. She continues to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially those of eliminating poverty and hunger. She was the first Arab and first woman to serve as World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador (2005-2007) and in September 2007, Princess Haya was selected by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, the highest honor bestowed on a global citizen by the United Nations Secretary-General to address pressing problems around the world.

Princess Haya is the daughter of HM Late King Hussein Bin Talal of Jordan and HM Late Queen Alia Al Hussein and the wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Eagle Award is the United States Sports Academy’s highest international honor. It is presented to a world leader in sport to recognize that individual’s contributions in promoting international harmony, peace and goodwill through the effective use of sport. The recipient of this award must have tempered strength with keen judgment in using authority wisely as a means of bringing nations together through sport for the betterment of mankind.

Alabama Wins Chance to Defend its National Title and Earns Academy’s Game of the Week Honor

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Alabama mounted a fourth quarter comeback to defeat Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game and earn selection as the Week 14 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest.

Last year's United States Sports Academy's College Football Game of the Year was Alabama's shutout, 21-0, of LSU in the national championship game. Daniel Moore's painting of the 2011 Game of the Year can be purchased online at newlifeart.com.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining in the game to put No. 2 Alabama (12-1) ahead, 32-28.

But No. 3 Georgia (11-2) marched right down the field. After an apparent game-clinching interception by Alabama was overturned on a video review, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray completed a 15-yard pass to Arthur Lynch, a 23-yarder to Tavarres King and a 26-yarder to Lynch, who was hauled down at the Alabama 8 as the final seconds ticked down.

Georgia’s Chris Conley caught a deflected pass and slipped down at the 5-yard line with only five seconds remaining but with no timeouts left the Bulldogs (11-2) didn’t get another play off.

Alabama trailed 21-10 with 6:31 left in the third quarter but rallied thanks to a running game that finished with 350 yards, an SEC championship game record. Eddie Lacy, the game’s MVP, rumbled for 181 yards on 20 carries, including two TDs, while freshman T.J. Yeldon added 153 yards on 25 carries and a TD. Meanwhile, Georgia was held to 113 yards on the ground.

Alabama now faces top-ranked Notre Dame (12-0) on Jan. 7 in Miami for the chance to clinch its third national college football title in four years. The matchup pits two of college football’s most storied programs with the Crimson Tide and Irish both having captured eight Associated Press national titles, more than any other schools.

A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season.

This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”

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, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.

Baylor Basketball Coach Mulkey Receives Academy’s 2012 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award

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Kim Mulkey made NCAA history in 2012 when the head coach of the Baylor University women’s basketball team led the Lady Bears to a perfect 40-game season—the first for any collegiate basketball program—that was capped with a national championship.

For her record of success that has made Mulkey the first person, male or female, in NCAA history to win a basketball national championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach, she has earned the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award.

Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey (right) accepts the Academy's 2012 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award from Dr. Donn Renwick, a former dean at the Academy and chair of Sports Management.

Mulkey received the award during a pre-game presentation before No. 1 Baylor’s home opener against Lamar on Nov. 9. The award was presented by Dr. Donn Renwick, a former dean at the Academy and now a distance learning faculty member.

The Academy’s C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award is annually presented to someone like Mulkey who has experienced outstanding achievement as a coach for female teams. In addition, the coaching award honors women who exhibit a high standard of propriety, imagination, and innovation as a character-builder in the tradition of great teacher-coaches.

Entering her 13th season at Baylor, Mulkey’s teams have won two national championships, made three Final Fours, and reached the Sweet 16 seven times in Baylor’s 11 NCAA tournament appearances. The Lady Bears won the national championship last year by defeating Notre Dame and also won in 2005.

Baylor has won 20 games in every season since Mulkey took over the program in 2000. In fact, she won her 300th career game in her 12th season, which is faster than any other active coaches ranked ahead of her in total victories. Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma attained the milestone in 13 seasons and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer did it in 14 years. Mulkey’s overall record is 338 wins and 79 losses, which gives her .811 winning percentage that ranks fifth all-time. 

Mulkey was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 for her accomplishments as a player at Louisiana Tech University. Since the inception of the NCAA women’s tournament in 1982, which Mulkey won as a player with Louisiana Tech, she has been involved in that tournament as a player or coach every year except 1985 and 2003. She also won the 1984 gold medal as a member of the United States team.

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