The most decorated gymnast in history and a global figure skating sensation have been named the United States Sports Academy’s male and female Athletes of the Month for October. American gymnast Simone Biles and Japanese superstar Yuzuru Hanyu took home the top honors for the month.
Hanyu won the Skate Canada men’s title by 59.82 points, the largest margin in Grand Prix figure skating history, in competition in October 2019. Hanyu won with a personal best total of 322.59, the highest point total in the world this season.
Biles won five gold medals at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, in October 2019, and became the most decorated gymnast in world championships history with 25 career world medals. Biles also completed two skills never performed by a female gymnast in competition.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and third place went to Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge.
Strasburg was named the MVP of the World Series after winning both of his starts against the Houston Astros in October. The right-hander became the first pitcher to go 5-0 in a single postseason, striking out 47 batters and posting an 11.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the third best in MLB postseason history.
Kipchoge became the first person in history to finish a marathon in under two hours with a time of 1:59:40.2 in Vienna, Austria, on 12 October 2019.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was Australian swimmer Minna Atherton and third place went to Kenyan runner Brigid Kosgei.
Atherton set a world record in the women’s 100-meter backstroke with a time of 54.89 seconds in Budapest, Hungary, on 27 October 2019. Atherton’s time topped the previous world record of 55.03 seconds set by Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in 2014. Atherton also won the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:00.58 the previous week in Lewisville, Texas.
Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s world record by winning the Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:14:04 on 13 October 2019. It was the second consecutive Chicago Marathon title for Kosgei, who also won the London Marathon this year.
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 35th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.