A baseball player having a historic season and a dominant swimmer were voted the United States Sports Academy’s Athletes of the Month after their performances on the world stage in the month of June. Baseball rising star Shohei Ohtani of Japan and American swimmer Katie Ledecky took home the honors for the month.
Los Angeles Angels two-way player Ohtani earned American League Player of the Month honors for June 2021 after batting .309/.423/.889 with 13 homeruns and winning two games as a pitcher with three quality starts. Ohtani’s 13 homers led the AL in the month and his .889 slugging percentage and 1.312 OPS led the majors.
Ledecky won the women’s 800-meter freestyle race with a time of 8:14.62, the second fastest time in the world this year, and qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics during the U.S. Olympic Trials – Swimming in Omaha, Neb., on 19 June 2021. She also won the 200-meter, 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyle finals at the event.
The second place finisher on the men’s side was American athlete Ryan Crouser and third place went to American swimmer Caeleb Dressel.
Crouser broke a 31-year-old shot put world record with a throw of 23.37 meters (76 feet, 8 ¼ inches) at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on 18 June 2021 and became the first man with a throw longer than 76 feet. Crouser qualified for his second U.S. Olympic Team.
Dressel tied his own American record with a time of 21.04 seconds in the men’s 50-meter freestyle race and qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials – Swimming in Omaha, Neb., on 20 June 2021. Dressel previously set the American record during the 2019 world championships in South Korea.
The second place finisher on the women’s side was American athlete Sydney McLaughlin and third place went to American softball player Giselle Juarez.
McLaughlin broke the women’s 400-meter hurdles world record with a time of 51.90 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on 28 June 2021. McLaughlin’s time broke the previous record of 52.16 held by Dalilah Muhammad since 2019.
University of Oklahoma pitcher Juarez earned Most Outstanding Player honors as the Sooners defeated Florida State two games to one in the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) championship in Oklahoma City on 10 June 2021. In five appearances at the WCWS, Juarez pitched 31 1/3 innings, struck out 38 batters and only allowed four runs and eight walks.
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.