A pair of Americans won the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Month honors for June as sports leagues and federations began to reopen for the first time since the sports world felt the impact of global economic and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the men’s side, golfer Dustin Johnson took the top honor after winning the Travelers Championship on 28 June 2020 in Connecticut to extend his career-long season victory streak to 13. Johnson shot a 19-under 261 to capture his 21st PGA Tour title.

For the women, softball player Megan Wiggins was the top vote-getter after recording three RBI, including the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh as USSSA Pride defeated This Is Us 4-3 on 29 June 2020 in Viera, Fla.

The second place finisher on the men’s side was Norwegian athlete Karsten Warholm and third place went to South Korean baseball player Park Kun-woo.

Warholm ran the fastest 300-meter hurdles time in history, finishing in just 33.78 seconds, in the men’s event at the Impossible Games in Oslo on 11 June 2020. Warholm broke the mark of 34.48 set in 2002 by Britain’s Chris Rawlinson. The Impossible Games, a Diamond League event, featured track and field athletes competing virtually and in largely empty stadiums following social distancing protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Park Kun-woo earned Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) June Player of the Month honors after leading the league with a .444 batting average and a .484 on-base percentage and finishing tied for first in runs scored with 22. He also finished second in the league with 36 hits in 21 games in June.

The second place finisher on the women’s side was American soccer player Ashley Hatch and third place went to Danish golfer Emily Pedersen.

The Washington Spirit forward Hatch scored the game-winning goal in the team’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Challenge Cup opener on 27 June 2020 in Herriman, Utah. Hatch scored early in the second half and led the Spirit with three shots on goal in the win.

Pedersen won a men’s professional event in the Bravo Tours Open after shooting an 11-under 133 to capture the title at Romo Golf Club in Denmark. Pedersen was one of nine women competing in the 82- player field.

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.

Eric Mann
Author: Eric Mann

I am the Dean of Marketing, Communications, and Enrollment at the United States Sports Academy. I earned a bachelor's degree in communication and information sciences from the University of Alabama and am currently in the master's degree program in sports management at the Academy.