Swedish pole vault sensation Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and American softball star Cat Osterman were named the United States Sports Academy’s Athletes of the Month for September after stellar performances during the month.
Osterman won the inaugural Athletes Unlimited league title with the most individual points of any player after five weeks of competition with 2,408. Osterman pitched six complete games and finished with an overall win-loss record of 13-1 in the new softball event. She is a repeat Athlete of the Month honoree, having previously won the award for her performance on the diamond in August.
Duplantis set a world record in the outdoor pole vault with a height of 6.15 meters (20.17 feet) at the Diamond League event in Rome on 17 September 2020. Duplantis already set a world indoor record in 2020 with 6.18 meters (20.27 feet) – the highest mark recorded either indoors or outdoors – on the World Indoor Tour.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American football quarterback Russell Wilson and third place went to American baseball player Freddie Freeman.
Wilson, of the Seattle Seahawks, earned NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for September after leading his team to a 3-0 record in the month. He recorded an NFL-leading 14 touchdowns and 139.0 quarterback rating after completing 76.7 percent of his passes and throwing just one interception in the month.
The Atlanta Braves first baseman, Freeman was named the National League Player of the Month for September after hitting .375 with 24 runs, 36 hits, 12 doubles, eight homeruns, 32 RBI and 20 walks in 26 games played in the month. Freeman became just the second player in Braves franchise history to hit at least .375 with 20-or-more extra base hits in a month, joining Hall of Famer Hank Aaron in July 1956.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was Romanian tennis player Simona Halep and third place went to Dutch cyclist Anna van der Breggen.
Halep was crowned women’s Italian Open champion after defeating the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 2-1 on 21 September 2020. Halep defeated Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in three sets in the semifinal to reach the championship round.
Van der Breggen won her sixth consecutive La Fieche Wallonne’s women’s race in Belgium on 30 September 2020. Earlier in September, she became the second rider ever to win a road race and time trial title at the same International Cycling Union (UCI) Road World Championship event in Italy. She matched the achievement of France’s Jeannie Longo in 1995.
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.