DAPHNE, Ala.–The 30th Annual Athletes of the Year ballot, part of the Annual Awards of Sport Program, is now open to the public for voting. The ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports from around the globe. The male and female winners of this year’s awards will be announced on December, 23, 2014.

Each month, the public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes, along with an Academy selection committee, choose the male and female winners monthly who then become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor. The monthly winners are announced on the Academy’s website, social media, and in the monthly e-newsletter, The Sport Update.

This year’s ballot includes 12 men and 12 women who came from a dozen countries. The nominees represent a wide variety of popular winter and summer sports from golfers to swimmers and long distance running to tennis. Their performances provided some of the top highlights and newsworthy stories in sport in 2014.

The nominees for the male Athlete of the Year include:
Michael Wardian (Marathon, U.S.)
Viktor Ahn (Short-Track Speed Skater, Russia)
Novak Djokovic (Tennis, Serbia)
Bubba Watson (Golf, U.S.)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Boxing, U.S.)
Rafael Nadal (Tennis, Spain)
Rory McIlRoy (Golf, Northern Ireland)
Dennis Kimetto (Marathon, Kenya)
Manny Pacquiao (Boxing, Phillipines)
Lionel Messi (Football, Argentina)
Peyton Manning (Football, U.S.)
Clayton Kershaw (Baseball, U.S.)

The nominees for the female Athlete of the Year include:
Valerie Adams (Shot put, New Zealand)
Abebech Bekele (Marathon, Ethiopia)
Park Seung-hi (Short-Track Speed Skater, South Korea)
Serena Williams (Tennis, U.S.)
Breanna Stewart (College Basketball, U.S.)
Maria Sharapova, (Tennis, Russia)
Michelle Wie (Golf, U.S.)
Petra Kvitova (Tennis, Czech Republic)
Katie Ledecky (Swimming, U.S.)
Diana Taurasi (Basketball, U.S.)
Genzebe Dibaba (Long-Distance Runner, Ethiopia)
Lydia Ko (Golf, New Zealand)

To vote, please visit:

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, 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