Keeping Up with May’s Athlete of the Month Candidates

Throughout each month, members of the United States Sports Academy faculty and staff suggest candidates to be considered for the Athlete of the Month ballot that comes out the first Thursday of the following month for a worldwide online vote.

Viewers are welcome to submit their own candidates for consideration, and, if so inclined, they could take a look at this month’s current list that will be presented to the ballot-creating committee.


Here is the list of candidates, with accompanying bios, up to this point:


  1. Erick Barrondo, Race Walking, Guatemala
    The first Guatemalan to ever medal at an Olympics, he won the men’s 2015 Race Walking Challenge in the 20 km event at the 17th Pan American Race Walking Cup in Arica, Chile, on May 10. His time was 1 hour, 21 minutes and 25 seconds.
  2. Valentin Belaud, Pentathlon, France
    Won the men’ s modern pentathlon World Cup meet in Kecskemet, Hungary, on May 3rd, with 1504 points overall, against Russia’ s Ilia Frolov’ s 1495 points. Belaud scored 238 points in fencing, 311 in swimming, 293 in riding, and 662 in combined event.
  3. Roger Federer, Tennis, Switzerland
    He won the Istanbul Open, Istanbul, Turkey by defeating Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6 (13-11).
  4. Blake Griffin, Basketball, USA (United States)
    The 26-year-old power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers has really stepped up his all-around presence in the postseason. This month, he has posted two triple-doubles and averaging 25.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists. A five-time NBA all-star and the league’s 2011 Rookie of the Year, Griffin has the Clippers poised to make a run at the NBA title.
  5. Bryce Harper, Baseball, USA (United States)
    The 22-year-old right fielder for the Washington Nationals had a three-game run for the ages May 6-9, belting six homers, driving in 12 runs and scoring seven. Harper drilled a game-winning, two-run, ninth-inning blast to cap off that stretch in an 8-6 victory against Atlanta. Through the first nine game of the month, the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year and two-time all-star was hitting .333 to raise his season average to .300.
  6. Ma Long, Table Tennis, China
    World No 1 Ma Long from China won his first men’s singles world table tennis title, defeating teammate Fang Bo 4-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4) in Suzhou on May 3rd.
  7. Patrick Kane, Hockey, USA (United States)
    The Chicago Blackhawks right wing/center starred in a four-game sweep of Minnesota in the second round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, posting five goals over the course of victories May 1 through May 7. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner, which goes to the most valuable player in the league’s postseason, also had an assist in the clincher.
  8. Floyd Mayweather Jr., Boxing, USA
    He won a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao by dominating in the late rounds of the fight where Mayweather threw and landed more punches and scored points with the judges, with the judges scoring the fight 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110 in Las Vegas, NV. The win unified the WBA, WBC, and WBO welterweight belts.
  9. Andy Murray, Tennis, Scotland
    Andy Murray has become the third player, after Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to be proclaimed champion in both of the Mutua Madrid Open’s venues, having also won the tournament in 2008 in the Casa de Campo. The Brit beat Nadal 6-3, 6-2 in a 2015 final that lasted just one hour and 28 minutes. Murray was well on top from start to finish. Not only was he 3-0 in front at the first break, but he had also only dropped one of the encounter’s first 13 points. The Scotsman really made his shots count, with 54 of his 56 points helping him towards winning games. He also won the Munich Open in Munich, Germany by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6, (7-4), 5-7, 7-6, (7-4).
  10. Novak Djokovic, Tennis, Serbia 
    Djokovic is once again champion of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia after he saw off the challenge of Roger Federer 6-4 6-3. The world number one broke as Federer served to stay in the first set and never looked back after that point to ensure his fourth title at the Foro Italico. It was Djokovic’s 22nd consecutive win, fifth title of 2015 and 53rd of his career and in the end it was his lower number of unforced errors that proved decisive with just 10 throughout the match.
  11. Asafa Powell, Track and Field, JAM (Jamaica)
    The 32-year-old sprinter won the men’s 100-meter race at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 10, posting a time of 9.84 seconds. A three-time Olympian, he has been part of gold medal-winning 4×100 relays at the Olympics and Worlds.
  12. Pedro Pablo Pichardo, Long jump, Cuba
    Fourth longest triple jump ever to highlight IAAF Diamond League season opener. Cuban record of 17.74 meters last weekend, clinched victory in the third round of the competition by leaping 18.06m, the furthest distance recorded since American Kenny Harrison’s Olympic gold medal winning jump of 18.09m at Atlanta 1996.
  13. Pekka Rinne, Hockey, FIN (Finland)
    The Nashville Predators goaltender, playing at the IIHF World Championship, recorded three consecutive shutouts for Finland and has a shutout streak of 237:05. This is a new IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship record, breaking Slovak goaltender Jan Lasak old record at 206:26.
  14. Stephen Sambu, Track and Field, KEN (Kenya)
    Stephen Sambu won the men’s 10km race at the Great Manchester (England) Run May 10, posting a world-leading time of 27 minutes, 30 seconds – which is the third fastest time for men in this race.
  15. Rory McIlroy, Golf, USA
    He won the Wells Fargo Championship in record fashion. He shot a course record on Saturday with a 61. He shot a 21 under for the entire tournament which shatter the old record by 5 strokes.


  1. Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez, Race Walking, MEX (Mexico)
    She won the women’s 2015 Race Walking Challenge in the 20 km event at the 17th Pan American Race Walking Cup in Arica, Chile, on May 10. Her winning time was 1 hour, 29 minutes and 21 seconds. She finished close to 2 minutes ahead of the second-place winner.
  2. Petra Kvitova, Tennis, Czech Republic
    The 25-year-old won the Madrid Open Title in Madrid, Spain, on May 10, beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2. The victory marked the powerful left-hander’s 16th tournament title as a professional, including two at Wimbledon.
  3. Minjee Lee, Golf, Australia
    Lee wrapped up her first LPGA victory on Monday; completing three holes to finish a 65 for a two-shot win at the rain-delayed Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia. The 18-year-old former top-ranked amateur made a three-putt bogey at the 16th when play resumed but parred the last two holes to finish on 15-under-par 269 for the victory over Ryu So-yeon of South Korea, who shot a 67 for 271.
  4. Ding Ning, Table Tennis, China
    May 3, 2015: World No. 1 Ning pulled off the most dramatic victories in table tennis history as she overcame injury in the final game to edge Liu Shiwen in an all-Chinese World Championships final in Suzhou. After Liu, the World No. 2, won a second straight game to make it 3-3 and force a decider, Ding collapsed on the floor when 2-0 down in the seventh, with many fearing her title challenge was over. After taking a medical timeout, the 24-year-old decided to continue despite struggling to walk, but played a brilliantly tactical game to win the decider 11-8 and complete a famous 4-3 victory (7-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 11-8).
  5. Inbee Park, Golf, KOR (South Korea)
    Inbee Park won LPGA’s North Texas Shootout in Irving Texas at the Las Colinas Country Club. Park shot a bogey free final round of 6 under 65; she won by 3 strokes and finished 15 under 269.
  6. Sally Pearson, Track and Field, AUS (Australia)
    The former Olympic and World champion in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, she captured the crown in the event May 10 at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo, Japan, with a time of 12.66 seconds.
  7. Karolina Pliskova, Tennis, CZE (Czech Republic)
    The 23-year-old rallied to beat Lucie Hradecka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to win the WTA Prague Open Title.
  8. Betsy Saina, Track and Field, KEN (Kenya)
    The 26-year-old long-distance runner won the women’s 10km race at the Great Manchester (England) Run May 10 in a time of 31 minutes, 49 seconds. A former NCAA star at Iowa State University, Saina is one of only 69 women to ever cover that distance in less than 31 minutes.
  9. Maria Sharapova, Tennis, (RUS) Russia
    Sharapova is Internazionali BNL d’Italia champion again after overcoming a fierce battle in the scorching heat of Rome on Sunday afternoon. The new world number two eventually moved away in the third set after two tense and close sets had put the result in doubt. Sharapova eventually won 4-6 7-5 6-1 in two hours and 36 minutes on a day when temperatures were above 30C degrees. Sharapova won the title in 2011 and 2012.
  10. Jasmin Stowers, Track and Field, USA
    The seven-time All-American from Louisiana State University won the women’s 100-meter hurdle race May 10 at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica, posting a time of 12.39 seconds – which is among the top 10 fastest of all time for women’s 100-meter hurdles.

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