DAPHNE, Ala. – Swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Simone Biles, both from the United States, have been voted the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for August.
Phelps won a total of six medals – five gold and one silver – in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. Phelps won gold in the 200 meter butterfly, 200 meter individual medley, 4×100 meter freestyle relay, 4×100 medley relay and 4×200 freestyle relay, as well as silver in the 100 meter butterfly. Phelps now has an Olympic record 28 total medals, 23 of which are gold.
Biles won four gold medals and one bronze medal in Rio. Biles won gold with Team USA in the women’s team all-around and won individual gold in the women’s individual all-around, women’s vault, and the women’s floor exercise. Her bronze medal came in the women’s beam. Biles has won the Academy’s Athlete of the Month award for two consecutive months.
The two athletes are now eligible for the Academy’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year Award to be voted on at year’s end.
The runner up in the men’s balloting was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and third place went to United States decathlete Ashton Eaton.
Bolt retained the title of world’s fastest man by winning the 100 meter dash in 9.81 seconds in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. He is the only man to win three consecutive 100 meter dash Olympic titles. Bolt also won his third consecutive Olympic gold in the 200 meters with a time of 19.79 and helped the Jamaican team win gold in the 4×100 relay. He has won nine total Olympic medals.
Eaton defended his title as world’s greatest athlete by winning the decathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Eaton tied the world record by scoring 8,893 points to match the Olympic record set by Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic in 2004. This is Eaton’s second consecutive Olympic decathlon gold medal.
The runner up in the women’s balloting was United States swimmer Katie Ledecky and third place went to fellow United States swimmer Simone Manuel.
Ledecky won five medals – four gold and one silver – at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. She became just the second woman to sweep the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle races in the Olympics. In the 800 meters, Ledecky clocked a world record time of 8:04.79 and defeated her competition by several body lengths. She also helped Team USA win gold in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay and silver in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
Manuel became the first African-American woman to win gold in Olympic swimming history. Manuel won two gold medals and two silver medals in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. She won gold in the women’s 100 meter freestyle with an Olympic record time of 52.70. Manuel also won gold in the women’s 4×100 medley relay and captured silver medals in the women’s 50 meter freestyle and women’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Year program, which is part of the institution’s annual Awards of Sport program. Each month, the public is invited to participate by nominating and voting for the Male and Female Athletes of the Month on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu. Monthly winners become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor, which is selected at year end by an online public balloting. Monthly and annual winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tennis great Serena Williams were the Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2015.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit http://www.ussa.edu/.