The United States Sports Academy’s ballot for 2021 Athlete of the Year is a star-studded list featuring the year’s most prominent athletes at the Olympic, professional, and collegiate levels. Voting is now open for the coveted award, which annually recognizes the top male and female athletes in the world.
The ballot is open for voting here until 5 p.m. Central time on Friday, 14 January 2022. This year’s ballot includes 12 men and 12 women from 12 countries.
Nominees for Male Athlete of the Year include: Canelo Alvarez, boxing, Mexico; Giannis Antetokounmpo, basketball, Greece; Tom Brady, football, United States; Ryan Crouser, athletics, United States; Novak Djokovic, tennis, Serbia; Caeleb Dressel, swimming, United States; Eliud Kipchoge, marathon, Kenya; Lionel Messi, football (soccer), Argentina; Shohei Ohtani, baseball, Japan; Andrei Vasilevskiy, hockey, Russia; Karsten Warholm, athletics, Norway; and Bryce Young, football, United States.
Nominees for Female Athlete of the Year include: Ashleigh Barty, tennis, Australia; Jessie Diggins, cross-country skiing, United States; Brittney Griner, basketball, United States; Peres Jepchirchir, running, Kenya; Lee Kiefer, fencing, United States; Nelly Korda, golf, United States; Katie Ledecky, swimming, United States; Sunisa Lee, gymnastics, United States; Sydney McLaughlin, athletics, United States; Athing Mu, athletics, United States; Alexia Putellas, football (soccer), Spain; and Elaine Thompson-Herah, athletics, Jamaica.
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.
Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update, as well as released to sports media around the world.
The 2020 Athletes of the Year were American figure skater Nathan Chen and American swimmer Lilly King.
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 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.