When it comes to winning, April’s top honorees for the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Month are no strangers to it. Displaying expertise in the pool and on the bike for years, respectively, Adam Peaty and Gwen Jorgensen succeeded again, this time gaining favor with those making selections on the online public ballot.British swimming star, Peaty, beat the competition and claimed the number one spot not only for the Athlete of the Month, but also for the 100-meter breaststroke. During the British Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Center in London on April 17, he set a new world record by swimming the 100-meter breaststroke in 57.92 seconds, making him the first man to have ever completed the event in less than 58 seconds. The 20-year-old also won the 200-meter breaststroke at that same event. This is the second long course world record that Peaty now holds, claiming the 50-meter breast at the European championships last summer with a time of 26.62.
Golden States Warriors’ basketball player Stephen Curry came in second for the men. The point guard stepped up his game once the postseason started in mid-April, averaging 33.8 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game during a first-round sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans. Included in that run was a 39-point, 9-assist, 8-rebound tour de force in the decisive Game 4 victory. Golf sensation Jordan Spieth came in third after being nominated for winning the 2015 Masters in record-tying fashion, carding an 18-under-par 270 to match the major’s mark for 72 holes, set previously by Tiger Woods in 1997. The victory was Spieth’s second in a month, and his fourth overall on the PGA Tour. On the tournament’s final day on April 12, he reached 19-under – a number never achieved in the event’s history – before bogeying the last hole to win by four strokes. Spieth became the first wire-to-wire champ at the Augusta, GA, course since 1976.
On the women’s side, triathlete Jorgensen was voted to the number one spot for Athlete of the Month after grabbing her 8th World Triathlon Series at the Gold Coast event in Australia on April 11. During that race, she was in the top eight after the 1,500-meter swim, then finished with a split of 33 minutes 35 seconds in the 10K run, pulling away to a comfortable victory margin of 1:18. Jorgensen has not lost an ITU World Triathlon Series event in more than a year. The winning streak has made her the first woman to have ever won five consecutive ITU races. She is also a two-time USA Triathlon Olympic/ITU Female Athlete of the Year and won gold at the 2014 World Championships.
Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball star Breanna Stewart was runner-up to Jorgensen in the voting. The two-time AP player of the year dominated the NCAA Division I Women’s Tournament once again, leading the team to a third straight national title. She posted 15 rebounds, eight points, four blocks and two steals as UConn topped Notre Dame’s on April 7 for the school’s record-setting 10th crown. In the national semifinal April 5 against the University of Maryland, Stewart went off for 25 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, and two steals, which helped her earn her third consecutive most outstanding player of the Final Four honor. New Zealand’s Lydia Ko came in third in the voting for the women. The LPGA Tour’s top-rated golfer defended her title at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in Daly City, CA. The 18-year-old won in a playoff, birdieing the 2nd hole of the playoff. She carded an 8-under-par 280 for the event. After the event, in a grand showing of compassion for others, Ko donated all of her prize money to Nepal’s earthquake relief effort.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and voting process. Visit the Academy website to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the Academy’s online edition of The Sport Update.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and 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. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.