Ferenc Németh (left) and Jack Scharr (right)

Ferenc Németh (left) received his award as the Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year from Trustee Jack Scharr (right) during The Artist and The Athlete Tribute held Thursday, Nov. 10 on campus.

Hungarian sculptor Ferenc Németh whose bronzes depict many sports legends received the United States Sports Academy’s 2012 Sport Artist of the Year Award.

During the Academy’s The Artist and The Athlete Tribute on Thursday on the university’s campus in Daphne, Ala., Németh said he feels blessed to be an artist.

“It’s not me but the gods who deserve all the recognition for this award and my talent to create my artwork,” he said in English to the crowd of about 200 guests at the event.

The tribute included the unveiling of his “Cyclist” bronze sculpture that depicts three bicyclists riding side by side with the wheels of their bicycles forming the five rings that are the symbol of the Olympics. In addition, 12 more bronzes by Németh went on display for the first time at the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), one of the largest collections of sport art in the world.

In fact, Németh first rose to international prominence for his sculptures as a result of his success in the art competition at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Two of his exhibited works were bought by Juan Antonio Samaranch, the late president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and another sculpture went to the IOC museum.

For the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Németh created the street statue of “Olympic Pleasure” as a gift from Hungary. It was placed near the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, Greece, in view of the place where the Olympic Flame is lit every two years.

His cubist and constructivist styles depict many sports legends, such as Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Pete Sampras, Carl Lewis and Michael Jordan, as well as tributes to other famous people, events, activities and causes. He also makes figural bronze reliefs of Greek mythological themes. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are among the many prominent collectors of Németh’s work.

Németh, who donated 179 sculptures to ASAMA in early 2011, also plans in the future to work with the Academy to sculpt small bronze statues of the sports university’s male and female Athletes of the Year that will be given to them along with their award. The recipients of this prestigious award are selected annually in December through worldwide, online balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.

“His art has a unique style that captures the essence of sports,” said Academy President and CEO Thomas P. Rosandich. “We are very grateful that a renowned artist, like Németh, continues to honor us with his generosity.”

The Sport Artist of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. The recipient may use a variety of art media to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and the ecstasy of sport.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA, a division of the United States Sports Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,500 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.