DAPHNE, Ala.— Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning set two NFL touchdown passing records and Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne earned the WNBA Rookie of the Year honor to earn the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Month award for September.
Manning earned yet another place in NFL quarterbacking history by throwing seven touchdowns in the season-opening victory, 49-27, against Baltimore. He became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdowns in a single game. The 37-year-old Manning also surpassed another historic mark with 16 TD passes through four games, breaking the record of 14 held by Kurt Warner in 1999 and Don Meredith in 1966.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Delle Donne was a unanimous selection as Rookie of the Year, leading all rookies in points (18.1), free throw percentage (.929), three-point field goal percentage (.438), and minutes (31.4 mpg). She ranked second among her fellow rookies in rebounds (5.6) and blocks (1.8). The 6-foot-5 forward was also the first rookie to ever receive the most votes in WNBA All-Star balloting.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu 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 sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update.
Finishing second in the men’s category was American boxer Floyd Mayweather, who successfully defended his super middleweight title. The 36-year-old Mayweather gave his younger opponent from Mexico, Saul Alvarez, a lesson in the art of boxing in his majority decision victory. Mayweather, using a strong jab and lightning-quick straight leads, boosted his record to 45-0 with 26 KOs.
The runner-up to Delle Donne on the women’s ballot was fellow WNBA player Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks. The 6-4 Parker became the fifth player to earn multiple WNBA MVP awards in her career. She finished her sixth season averaging 17.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.84 blocks per game. She had eight double-doubles and scored at least 20 points 13 times.
Third place winners for September were Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who ran the world’s best in the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 23 seconds (2:03:23) in Berlin; and Serena Williams, who won her fifth U.S. Open title and second in a row at Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Manning and Delle Donne are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2013 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 29th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.
In 2012, the male Athlete of the Year was Bolt when he became the first man ever to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in successive Olympics. The female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams, who became the singles champion at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympics. Both Olympians dominated 2012’s online ballot in December, which drew tens of thousands of votes a day from across the world.