World Champion gymnast Kohei Uchimura and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) standout Seimone Augustus were voted the United States Sports Academy’s October Athletes of the Month.
Veteran Japanese gymnast Uchimura became the first person in history to win three straight world titles. In all, he won four medals and the men’s all-around title in the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo and each performance ignited the Japanese fans who roared and gave him standing ovations. The Japanese gymnast was so dominant that many are calling him the greatest gymnast of all time. Every time he has taken the floor since winning the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, no one has come close to catching Uchimura, who finished with 93.631 points. He finished with his largest margin of victory, scoring more than three points more than Germany’s Philipp Boy, the runner-up.
Augustus, a Minnesota Lynx basketball player, earned the WNBA Most Valuable Player award in the championship series for leading the Lynx in a three-game sweep over the Atlanta Dream. Augustus averaged 24.9 points per game in the finals with 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists and played stifling defense. She shut down Atlanta’s best shooter, Angel McCoughtry, in the decisive Game 3. Augustus forced McCoughtry into a 9-of-25 shooting performance, after she had scored a WNBA finals record 38 points in Game 2 of the finals.
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 between the first and second Tuesdays of each month to vote on the Athlete 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 male athlete category was Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Through the first seven games of the National Football League season this fall, Rodgers has amassed 2,372 yards through the air, with 20 touchdowns and a mere three interceptions.
The 27-year-old Rodgers was on pace to eclipse Dan Marino’s 5,084-yard single-season passing record set in 1984, Peyton Manning’s passing rating of 121.7 set in 2004 and Drew Brees’ 70.7 completion mark set in 2009.
The runner up to Augustus in the Female October Athlete of the Month voting was 16-year-old Jordyn Wieber, who came out of nowhere to capture a gold medal in the women’s all-around in her first ever World Championship competition. Wieber, a high school junior from DeWitt, Mich., scored 59.382 points, nipping Russia’s Viktoria Komova by just 0.033 points. She became just the sixth American woman to win the all-around title and third since 2007.
Third place winners were David Freese, who won both the World Series and National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player awards playing third base for the world champion St. Louis Cardinals; and Great Britian’s Chrissie Wellington, who won her fourth Ironman World Championship title in Kona, Hawaii. Wellington finished the race, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run, in 8 hours, 55 minutes, and 8 seconds.
The winners will be considered as a candidate for the 2011 Athlete of the Year ballot. In December 2011, the Academy will name the Male and Female Athletes of the Year for the 27th consecutive year. The recipients of these prestigious awards are selected annually through worldwide balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.
In 2010, the Male Athlete of the Year was Spain’s star football (soccer) player David Villa and the Female Athlete of the Year was South Korea’s No. 1 figure skater Yuna Kim. Both of these individuals dominated the 2010 ballot, receiving more than 12 votes per second from across the world.