Jose Altuve, baseball, Venezuela
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve of Venezuela was named the American League MVP after hitting a league best .346 average, along with 24 home runs and 32 steals, as well as more than 200 hits (204) for the fourth consecutive season. He drove in 81 runs and had an on base percentage of .410, .547 slugging and a .957 OPS (on base plus slugging). He scored 112 runs this season. Altuve won the MVP award in a landslide, taking 27 of the 30 first place votes. Altuve also took home the Silver Slugger Award as the top offensive second baseman in the American League.
Tom Brady, football, United States
New England quarterback Tom Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl LI on 5 February 2017. Brady was named the game’s MVP after leading the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. His 466 passing yards and 62 passing attempts were also Super Bowl records. Brady is also a leading candidate for the NFL’s 2017-18 MVP award.
Nathan Chen, figure skating, United States
United States champion Nathan Chen became the first American man since 2009 to win the figure skating title at the prestigious International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix Final in December in Nagoya, Japan. The ISU Grand Prix Final is often viewed as a predictor of success in the following Olympic Games, which will take place in February 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Chen, 18, also won the Skate America championship in November and the Rostelecom Cup in October in Russia.
Sidney Crosby, hockey, Canada
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player of the playoffs as the Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 on 11 June 2017 to win the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive season. It was Crosby’s second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy win. Crosby, a native of Canada, registered 19 assists, 8 goals and 27 total points in 24 postseason games for the Penguins. He finished the season with an NHL best 52 goals, along with 64 assists and 116 points.
Caeleb Dressel, swimming, United States
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel was named the USA Swimming Athlete of the Year after winning seven world titles at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships in Budapest this summer. He also earned FINA Male Swimmer of the Year honors. Dressel, 21, became the first swimmer in history to capture three world championships on a single day after winning the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and the mixed 400-meter freestyle relay on 29 June. He also won world championships in the 100-meter freestyle, 50-meter butterfly, 400-meter medley relay and 400-meter freestyle relay at the event. Dressel set American records in three events: the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and the 50-meter butterfly.
Kevin Durant, basketball, United States
Golden State’s Kevin Durant was named the MVP of the NBA Finals series after scoring a team-high 39 points in the Warriors’ 129-120 series-clinching win against Cleveland on 12 June 2017. Durant scored at least 30 points in each of the series’ five games, averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. He also shot 55.5 percent from the field and made 47.4 percent of his three-pointers. Durant averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and a .537 shooting percentage during the season.
Mo Farah, track and field, Great Britain
Great Britain’s Mo Farah won the 10,000 meter gold and took silver in the 5,000 meters at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London in August. Farah also won his final two events – 5,000 meters and 3,000 meters – in the IAAF Diamond League and won the Great North Run for a record fourth consecutive time, finishing in 1:00.06. Farah – who received knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2017 – retired from track and field as the most successful British distance runner ever. He intends to further his career in road racing events such as marathons and half-marathons.
Marcel Hirscher, skiing, Austria
Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher established himself as one of the most successful ski racers of all time after he won his sixth consecutive overall International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup title, seventh FIS World Cup giant slalom title and fourth FIS World Cup slalom title in March 2017. In December, Hirscher started the FIS World Cup season with a record five consecutive victories in the giant slalom events.
Rafael Nadal, tennis, Spain
Spain’s Rafael Nadal won the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Player of the Year award after a season in which he won two Grand Slam titles – his 10th French Open and third U.S. Open. Nadal, 31, is the oldest ITF men’s world champion and the oldest player to finish the year ranked No. 1 in the world since the Association of Tennis Players (ATP) rankings began in 1973.
Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer, Portugal
Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo earned his second consecutive Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Best Men’s Player Award in October in London. It is the fifth time Ronaldo has won FIFA’s top male player award, which is voted on by players, coaches, media and fans. He won championships in the Champions League and La Liga with Real Madrid in 2017. He scored 25 goals in La Liga play and 12 goals in the Champions League. He also won the fifth Ballon d’Or of his career, matching Lionel Messi as the most-awarded winner of one of the sport’s top individual honors. Ronaldo won the award for the second consecutive time, after a year that saw him help Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup.
Justin Thomas, golf, United States
American golfer Justin Thomas won the FedEx Cup – given to the top PGA golfer of the year – on 24 September 2017 after a second place finish in the Tour Championship. This season Thomas won five tournaments and his first major championship, the PGA Championship tournament, in August. He is the fourth golfer since 1960 to win five times, including a major, in a PGA Tour season before his 25th birthday. Thomas matched the U.S. Open single-round record of 63 at Erin Hills at the Sony Open in Hawaii Thomas became the seventh player in PGA Tour history to shoot a round of 59.
Russell Westbrook, basketball, United States
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2016-17 season. Westbrook, 28, won in a landslide after collecting 69 of the 101 first place votes. Westbrook became just the second player – after Oscar Robertson in 1962 – in NBA history to average a triple-double for entire season. He also broke the NBA record for most triple-doubles in a season with 42. Westbrook led the league in scoring with 31.6 points per game and finished third in assists with 10.4 per game. He also collected 10.7 rebounds per game, which put him tenth in the league.
Almaz Ayana, running, Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana was the highest ranked runner among this year’s finalists for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Women’s World Athlete of the Year after winning the 10,000 meter final at the IAAF World Championships in London by 46 seconds, the widest ever winning margin in that event at the World Championships. Ayana also took silver in the 5,000 meter final just eight days later, giving her the best collection of individual medals of any female athlete at the World Championships this season.
Heather Bergsma, speed skating, United States
American speed skater Heather Bergsma won 12 International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup medals – including nine golds – to claim her third Grand World Cup crown and added four World Championship medals in 2017. She now claims career titles in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,500-meter events.
Sylvia Fowles, basketball, United States
Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was named both the 2017 WNBA MVP and the 2017 WNBA Finals MVP this year. She earned league MVP honors after recording 18.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.97 blocks per game this season. She also notched 20 double-doubles this season and led all players in field goal percentage with 65.5 percent of her shots made. She was named the Western Conference Player of the Week five times and the Western Conference Player of the Month three times this season. She was named WNBA Finals MVP after the Lynx defeated Los Angeles in five games. She set a WNBA Finals record for rebounds in a single game with 20 in Game 5, the clinching win. She recorded a double-double in all five games of the Finals series.
Morgan Hurd, gymnastics, United States
American gymnast Morgan Hurd was crowned the women’s all-around world champion at the 2017 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Montreal on 7 October 2017. Hurd scored a total of 55.232 points on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor routine to capture the title. The following day, Hurd took silver on the balance beam to close out the World Championships.
Katie Ledecky, swimming, United States
American swimmer Katie Ledecky impressed on the world stage at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships in July in Budapest, winning six medals – five gold and one silver – which catapulted her to the top of the all-time women’s medals table for the FINA World Championships with 14 gold medals. Ledecky took gold in the 400 meter freestyle, 800 meter freestyle, 1500 meter freestyle and two relays and captured silver in the 200 meter freestyle.
Ledecky was also awarded the Honda Cup as the collegiate woman athlete of the year on 23 June 2017 in Los Angeles. Ledecky won five national titles and set two individual NCAA records as a freshman at Stanford University. She is just the second freshman to win the Honda Cup, which has been awarded annually since 1976. Ledecky won individual titles in the 200, 500 and 1650 freestyle and was a member of Stanford’s 400 free and 800 free relay title teams. In her freshman season, Ledecky broke American records nine times, NCAA records 12 times and NCAA meet records four times. She also won Pac-12 Conference titles and was named the conference’s top swimmer of the championship meet.
Lieke Martens, soccer, Netherlands
Dutch player Lieke Martens was named the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Best Women’s Player in October 2017 in London. She was part of the Dutch team that defeated Denmark to win the European Championship in August as she took home Player of the Tournament honors after scoring three goals and two assists. She also was named the best women’s player in Europe by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in August.
Garbine Muguruza, tennis, Spain
Spain’s Garbine Muguruza was named the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women’s Player of the Year and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Player of the Year after winning her second career Grand Slam title at Wimbledon – becoming the first player to defeat sisters Venus and Serena Williams in a Grand Slam final. She also reached the semifinals or better in six other tournaments, including a win at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also climbed to World No. 1 after the U.S. Open, becoming just the second Spanish women’s player to achieve the top ranking.
Sung Hyun Park, golf, South Korea
South Korea’s Sung Hyun Park won the LPGA’s money title, shared the LPGA’s Player of the Year honors with fellow South Korean golfer So Yeon Ryu and won the LPGA Rookie of the Year award. Park clinched the money title with $2,335,883 earned this season and became just the third rookie ever to lead the LPGA tour in money. She is the first player since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to sweep the Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and money titles in a season. She also finished second in the running for the Vare Trophy – for the lowest scoring average – at 69.247. Park won the U.S. Women’s Open and the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.
Kelsey Plum, basketball, United States
The University of Washington’s Kelsey Plum was named the winner of the 2017 John R. Wooden Award – given to college basketball’s most outstanding player – on 8 April 2017. She won all nine of the major postseason awards given to college basketball players, including the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy, Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, Associated Press Player of the Year and the ESPNW Player of the Year award. She also won the Dawn Staley Award and the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the nation’s top guard and point guard. She also won Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year honors. Plum averaged 31.7 points per game in the 2016-17 season and set the NCAA women’s scoring record with 3,527 career points. She ranks second in scoring all time – male or female – in NCAA history behind Pete Maravich’s 3,667 points. Plum was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft (San Antonio Stars) and was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team.
Mikaela Shiffrin, skiing, United States
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin was dominant on the international slopes in 2017. She was named the 2017 Beck International Award winner, given each year by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) to recognize the best athletic performance in international competition. Shiffrin, 22, won the overall International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Cup title after winning 11 races during the winter season. She also captured the slalom World Cup title and won gold in both the slalom and giant slalom events at the FIS World Championships in Switzerland.
Sarah Sjostrom, swimming, Sweden
Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom earned the Female Swimmer of the Year award from the International Swimming Federation (FINA). Sjostrom won the women’s overall FINA World Cup crown in October and won three titles at the FINA World Championships in Budapest in July, winning the 50 meter freestyle, 50 meter butterfly and 100 meter butterfly races. She also broke two world records in Budapest with times of 23.67 in the 50 meter freestyle and 51.71 in the 100 meter freestyle. She set a Swedish record with a time of 27.80 in the 50 meter backstroke at the Swedish Championships in June.
Nafissatou Thiam, heptathlon, Belgium
Belgian athlete Nafissatou Thiam was named the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) female World Athlete of the Year. She started the year by winning the European indoor pentathlon title with a world-best score of 4,870. Later, she won at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meet in Gotzis with a score of 7,013 which included a 1.98 meter high jump and a 59.32 meter javelin throw. In August, Thiam won gold in the heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships meet in London. She was also named the United States Sports Academy’s 2017 Jim Thorpe All-Around Award winner.
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