A pair of Americans won the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Month honors for July as sports leagues and federations began to reopen for the first time since the sports world felt the impact of global economic and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the men’s side, Nick Castellanos hit safely in each of the Cincinnati Reds’ first nine games and hit .429 with four homeruns, 10 RBIs to close out the first month of the season. Castellanos added a grand slam in a 12-7 win against the Chicago Cubs on 29 July 2020.
For the women, pole vaulter Sandi Morris topped a world-leading 4.81 meters (15.78 feet) and won the event at the Acadia Invitational on 16 July 2020. The competition was held in Greenville, S.C., on a jumping facility Morris and her father helped build.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American athlete Michael Norman and third place went to English soccer player Michail Antonio.
Norman won the 100 meters with a world-leading 9.86 seconds at a meet in Texas on 20 July 2020. Norman shattered his personal best time of 10.27 (2016) and became just the second man in history to run a sub-10 100 meters, sub-20 200 meters, and sub-44 400 meters, joining Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk in that exclusive club.
Antonio scored eight goals for West Ham United in July – including four goals in a shutout win against Norwich City – in July 2020. Antonio is just the ninth player in Premier League history to score four goals in one match.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was English soccer player Rachel Daly and third place went to American basketball player Sylvia Fowles.
Daly was named the MVP and Golden Boot winner for the National Women’s Soccer League 2020 Challenge Cup, which concluded in July 2020. Daly played 614 minutes in seven matches for the Houston Dash and recorded three goals and two assists for Houston. She scored the game-winning goal in the semifinal match against Portland.
Fowles, the Minnesota Lynx center, became the WNBA’s all-time rebounding leader after grabbing 11 rebounds in a game against the Seattle Storm on 29 July 2020. Fowles moved past previous record holder Rebekkah Brunson into first place on the all-time list with 3,357 career rebounds.
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 36th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.