DAPHNE, Ala. – Basketball player Stephen Curry and hurdler Kendra Harrison, both from the United States, have been voted the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for May.
Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, continued his remarkable season during May by being named the Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the second straight season, also recording the first unanimous MVP ballot in history. Also during May, he broke the record for three-point field goals in a single playoff series with 32, helping lead the Warriors to the NBA Finals.
Harrison won the 100-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on 28 May 2016 with a time of 12.24 seconds, breaking the American record in the event and just 0.03 seconds off the world record set in 1988.
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 and third place finishers in the men’s balloting were American baseball players Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, respectively.
Kershaw, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in May completed what many baseball experts are calling the best month ever by a pitcher. Kershaw started six games, compiling a record of 5-0 (the bullpen lost the sixth game). He pitched three complete game shutouts, and had an ERA of 0.91 in 49.2 innings, giving up only five runs the entire month. He also had a remarkable strikeout to walk ratio of 32.5:1, with 65 strikeouts and only two walks. By giving up only 24 hits and 2 walks, he had an incredible walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) of 0.52.
Scherzer, pitching for the Washington Nationals on 11 May 2016, attained one of Major League Baseball’s elite achievements by tying the record of 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game; his pitching performance helped his team win 3-2 over the Detroit Tigers. His total pitch count was 119 pitches, with 96 as strikes.
The runner up in the women’s balloting was golfer Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and third place went to hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.
Jutanugarn had an amazing run of three straight Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) victories in May. She won the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala., on 8 May 2016; the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va., on 22 May 2016; and the Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich., on 29 May 2016.
Wlodarczyk threw a world-leading 78.54 meters (257 feet 8 inches) on 19 May 2016 to break the hammer throw meet record at the Golden Spike Meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and two days later she improved her world lead to 79.48 meters (260 feet 9 inches) at the Hallesche Werfertage Meeting in Halle, Germany.
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.