DAPHNE, Ala. – Sprinter Justin Gatlin and gymnast Simone Biles, both from the United States, have been voted the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for July.
Gatlin won the men’s 100-meter dash at the U.S.A. Track & Field Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., on 3 July 2016. His winning time of 9.8 seconds was the fastest of the year. Gatlin also won the 200-meter dash in 19.75 seconds. The two victories earned him an Olympic team spot in Rio.
Biles won the all-around title at the U.S. Olympic trials in gymnastics with an overall two-day total of 123.25 on 10 July 2016. Biles is a 3-time world champion and is competing in her first Olympics in Rio.
The two athletes are now eligible for the Academy’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year Award to be voted on at year’s end.
The runner up in the men’s balloting was boxer Deontay Wilder of the United States and third place went to tennis player Andy Murray of Scotland.
Wilder defeated Chris Arreola by technical knockout in the 8th round at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala., on 16 July 2016, even after suffering a broken hand in the bout. Wilder retains his World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight title belt and remains undefeated at 37-0, with 36 knockouts.
Murray defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 for the 2016 Wimbledon men’s singles title on 10 July 2016 to claim his third Grand Slam title.
The runner up in the women’s balloting was tennis player Serena Williams and third place went to track & field’s Brittney Reese, both of the United States.
Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam title by beating Angelique Kerber in straight sets in the Wimbledon women’s singles final on 9 July 2016, her seventh Wimbledon singles title. Williams is tied with Steffi Graf for the most major championships in the Open Era, which began in 1968.
Reese won the women’s long jump at the U.S.A. Track & Field Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., on 2 July 2016 with a massive jump of 23 feet 11.75 inches. Her mark stands as the second-farthest women’s jump in U.S. history and broke the U.S. Olympic trials record set by Jackie Joyner Kersee in 1988. Reese is the defending Olympic champion in the long jump and is competing at Rio.
This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Year program, which is part of the institution’s annual Awards of Sport program. Each month, the public is invited to participate by nominating and voting for the Male and Female Athletes of the Month on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu. Monthly winners become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor, which is selected at year end by an online public balloting. Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tennis great Serena Williams were the Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2015.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally 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.