Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American swimmer Missy Franklin both hauled in a record number of medals in their sports’ world championships to earn the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Month award for August.
Bolt flashed past American Carl Lewis into the world track and field championship record book by completing a triple gold-medal performance in Moscow. Bolt and the legendary Lewis both have won 10 world championship medals total, including eight gold medals. However, Bolt holds the record now because he has a pair of silver medals, while Lewis has a silver and bronze. Bolt took gold in the 100 meters (9.77 seconds), 200 meters (19.66) and anchored Jamaica’s victory in the 400-meter relay (37.36).
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Franklin claimed a record six gold medals at the world swimming championships in Barcelona. Her gold medals came in the 200 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle, 4×100 freestyle, 4×200 freestyle and the 400-meter medley relays. She took fourth in the 100 free. Franklin eclipsed the women’s record that had had been shared by American Tracy Caulkins, who won five times at the 1978 worlds, and Australian Libby Trickett, who did it in 2007.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update.
Finishing second in the men’s category was American golfer Jason Dufner, who won his first major title at the 2013 PGA Championship in Pittsford, N.Y., and setting two course records. Dufner held on to win by two strokes despite bogeys on the final two holes to notch a two-under par 68 in the final round. His 10-under for the tournament, topped the legendary Jack Nicklaus in the Oak Hill record books. Dufner also erased the names of Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange from the course records with the low score of 63 in the tournament’s second round.
The runner-up to Franklin on the women’s ballot was Russian Tatyana Lysenko. She captured gold in front of her home crowd in Moscow at the world track and field championships with a record hammer throw. The defending world and Olympic champion managed a best of 78.80 meters (258 feet, 6 inches), a world championship record.
Third place winners for August were Venezuelan Major League Baseball player Miguel Cabrera, who is in the hunt to become the first player in history to win a second straight Triple Crown with the most home runs, runs batted in and highest batting average; and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who became the first woman to sweep the 100 meters (10.71 seconds) and the 200 meters (22.17) at the world track and field championships since German Katrin Krabbe in 1991.
Bolt and Franklin are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2013 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 29th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.
In 2012, the male Athlete of the Year was Bolt when he became the first man ever to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in successive Olympics. The female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams, who became the singles champion at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympics. Both Olympians dominated 2012’s online ballot in December, which drew tens of thousands of votes a day from across the world.
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 www.ussa.edu.