DAPHNE, Ala. – The United States Sports Academy has announced its Athlete of the Month ballot for January and voting is in progress. Following the selection committee’s meeting, a total of 12 candidates – six male and six female – from seven countries comprise the list.

One male and one female will be chosen as monthly winners as decided by the public. Everyone is encouraged to cast a vote on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu and have their friends do the same. The full ballot is listed along with bios of what each athlete accomplished during the month. Voting will continue until 12 February 2016.

Male candidates are: Tesfaye Abera, marathon, Ethiopia; Novak Djokovic, tennis, Serbia; O.J. Howard, football, United States; Alexander Ovechkin, hockey, Russia; Jordan Spieth, golf, United States; and Deontay Wilder, boxing, United States.

Female candidates are: Elise Christie, speed skating, Great Britain; Angelique Kerber, tennis, Germany; Viktoria Rebensburg, skiing, Germany; Park Sehui, archery, South Korea; Tirifi Tsegaye, marathon, Ethiopia; and Lindsey Vonn, downhill skiing, United States.

This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s Athlete of the Year program, which is part of the institution’s annual Awards of Sport program. The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes accomplishments of men and women in sports from around the globe. Each month, the public is invited to participate by nominating and voting for athletes on the Academy’s website. 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.

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.

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