Olympic sensations Usain Bolt and Missy Franklin were chosen as the United States Sports Academy’s August Athletes of the Month.
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter, became the first man ever to repeat as an Olympic gold medalist in the 100- and 200-meter events. Meanwhile, Franklin, an American swimmer, set a world record in the 200-meter backstroke and won four gold medals.
Bolt 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 won a third gold medal as the anchor of Jamaica’s 400-meter relay team, which finished in a world-record time of 36.84 seconds. Bolt has six golds in six events from the 2008 Bejing and 2012 London Games.
Meanwhile, the 17-year-old Franklin lived up to her Olympic hype. She completed the 200-meter backstroke in a world record of 2:04.06. The first American woman to qualify for seven Olympic events ended up taking home five medals—four gold and one bronze. One of her gold medals was earned on the American 4×100-meter medley relay team that set a world record with a time of 3:52.05.
The public is invited to participate in the online, 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 between the first day and second Tuesday of each month to vote on the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the winners and they are announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of The Sport Update.
Finishing second in the men’s category was American swimmer Michael Phelps, who became the first male swimmer 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. Phelps also won the event at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games. The 27-year-old is now the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, including 18 gold.
The runner up to Franklin on the women’s ballot was 16-year-old American gymnast Gabby Douglas, who won the women’s all-around gymnastics title at the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the third straight American to win the sport’s biggest prize. Also, she and her “Fierce Five” teammates helped the United States win its first Olympic team title since 1996.
Third place winners for August were American decathlete Ashton Eaton, who racked up 8,869 points to win the gold medal by 198 points, and American sprinter Allyson Felix, who captured the Olympic 200-meter title in 21.88 seconds becoming the most decorated female sprinter in the event in history.
The winners of the Academy’s male and female Athletes of the Month will be considered as candidates for the 2012 Athlete of the Year ballot. In December 2012, the Academy will name the male and female Athlete of the Year for the 28th consecutive year. The recipients of this prestigious award are selected annually through worldwide online balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.
In 2011, the Male Athlete of the Year was No. 1-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia and the Female Athlete of the Year was No. 1-ranked golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan. Both of them dominated 2011’s ballot that drew as many as 50,000 votes a day from across the world.