American Olympic gold medalists Kevin Durant and Sydney McLaughlin are the United States Sports Academy’s Athletes of the Month after their achievements on the world stage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in August. .
Durant earned MVP honors as Team USA won the Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament at Tokyo 2020. Durant averaged 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists to lead the Americans to gold and scored 29 in the 83-76 finals win against France.
McLaughlin broke her own world record and the Olympic record and won gold with a time of 51.46 seconds in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. McLaughlin held off compatriot Dalilah Muhammad, whose time of 51.58 would have also broken McLaughlin’s previous record of 51.90. McLaughlin was also part of the American 4 x 400-meter relay gold medal team.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was Norwegian hurdler Karsten Warholm and third place went to Canadian decathlete Damian Warner.
Warholm set a world record and won gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Warholm broke his own world record with a time of 45.94 seconds to hold off American rival Rai Benjamin in the final.
Warner set an Olympic record with 9,018 points and won the men’s decathlon title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Warner became just the fourth man ever to break the 9,000-point barrier, joining decathlon legends Roman Sebrle, Ashton Eaton, and Kevin Mayer in that elite category.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah and third place went to American golfer Nelly Korda.
Thompson-Herah won 200-meter gold and was part of her nation’s gold-medal 4 x 100 meter relay team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Later in the month, Thompson-Herah won the 100-meter race with the second-fastest time in history – 10.54 seconds – at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore. She also won the 100-meters at the Paris Diamond League meet.
Korda shot a 17-under par 269 and won gold in the women’s golf tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Korda became the first golfer to win the Olympic title and a major championship – the Women’s PGA Championship – in the same year.
Each month, the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes are used to guide the Academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.
The Athlete of the Year Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serves as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport.
The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 37th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.