The No. 2-ranked tennis player in the world Andy Murray and 16-year-old American swimmer Katie Ledecky both gave electrifying performances in the spotlight of major worldwide sporting events.
Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years by beating No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in the finals. The 26-year-old Scotsman’s victory was the first since Fred Perry won Wimbledon in 1936. It was Murray’s second grand slam title, which helped him achieve the three goals he had set for himself — win a Grand Slam title, win an Olympic title at home, win Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, Ledecky set two world records in five days, won four gold medals and was named the top female swimmer at the world swimming championships in Barcelona. Ledecky dominated the 1,500-meter freestyle, clocking a time of 15 minutes, 36.53 seconds, which beat the six-year-old mark by 6 seconds. In the 800-meter freestyle, she finished in 8:13.86, shaving nearly a quarter of a second off the old world record set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ledecky also won gold in the 400-meter freestyle where she missed setting a world record by 0.67 seconds with a time of 3:59.82. She also won gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
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 golfer Phil Mickelson, who shot a 5-under, 66—the lowest score of the week—on the final round of the 142nd British Open Championship at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland. It was the 43-year-old’s first British Open title in his career. Mickelson made birdies on four of the last six holes to claim the claret jug given to the winner. His 3-under 281 total made him the only player to finish below par.
The runner-up to Ledecky on the women’s ballot was South Korean golfer Hee Young Park, who equaled the LPGA Tour record for lowest total score for a tournament at 26-under 258. Park and Angela Stanford were tied at the end of regulation in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario. However, Park birdied the third playoff hole for the victory to earn her second career LPGA victory.
Third place winners for July were British cyclist Chris Froome, 28, who won the 100th Tour de France by the largest margin since 1997 at 4 minutes, 20 seconds; and 16-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte, who set world records in both the women’s 100-meter breaststroke (1:04.35) and 50-meter breaststroke (29.48).
Murray and Ledecky 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 Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who 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.