DAPHNE, Ala. – The United States Sports Academy has announced its Athlete of the Month ballot for February and public voting is in progress. Following the selection committee’s meeting, 12 candidates – six male and six female – from six countries comprise the list.

One male and one female are voted monthly winners by the public and they then become candidates for the Academy’s prestigious Athlete of the Year award. Everyone is encouraged to cast a vote on the Academy’s website at www.ussa.edu and have friends do the same. The full ballot is listed along with bios of what each athlete accomplished during the month. Voting will continue until 11 March 2016.

Male candidates are: Stephen Curry, Basketball, United States; Denny Hamlin, Auto Racing, United States; Braden Holtby, Hockey, Canada; Jordan Norwood, Football, United States; Ayanleh Souleiman, Track, Djibouti; and Johnathan Thurston, Rugby, Australia.

Female candidates are: Rachel Banham, Basketball, United States; Morgan Foley, Softball, United States; Helah Kiprop, Marathon, Kenya; Elana Meyers Taylor, Bobsleigh, United States; Aurélie Muller, Swimming, France; and Lindsey Vonn, Downhill Skiing, United States.

This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s Athlete of the Year program, 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. Monthly winners become eligible for the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor, which is selected at year end by 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.

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 www.ussa.edu.