After winning the prestigious Wimbledon tennis championship in London, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Romania’s Simona Halep have been named the United States Sports Academy’s male and female Athletes of the Month for July.
Djokovic won his fifth career Wimbledon title in an epic 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) battle against longtime rival Roger Federer of Switzerland. It was the first time a tiebreaker round was used to determine the Wimbledon winner. Djokovic has won 16 Grand Slam titles.
Halep captured her second Grand Slam title with a 6-2, 6-2 win against American Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final. She became the first Romanian to win a Wimbledon singles title.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American swimmer Caeleb Dressel and third place went to American baseball player Stephen Strasburg.
Dressel broke Michael Phelps’ 10-year-old world record in the 100-meter butterfly, posting a time of 49.50 at the 2019 FINA Aquatics World Championships in South Korea in July 2019. Dressel earned a record eight podium finishes, including six gold medals across individual and relay events.
Pitching for the Washington Nationals, Strasburg earned National League Pitcher of the Month honors after allowing just four runs in five July starts. Strasburg amassed a 1.14 ERA with 44 strikeouts in the month and had a career month at the plate, hitting .357 with a home run and six RBIs.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American soccer player Megan Rapinoe and third place went to American swimmer Regan Smith.
Rapinoe won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Boot after recording six goals and three assists as the Americans won their second consecutive World Cup championship in France in July. Rapinoe was also awarded the Golden Ball trophy, given to the tournament’s top player.
Smith, 17, broke Missy Franklin’s 2012 world record in the women’s 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:03.35 at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Korea in July. Smith also swam the backstroke leg in the 4×100 medley relay and set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke in that event.
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, Medallion Series, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 34th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.