For the 29th consecutive year, the United States Sports Academy will name an Athlete of the Year in conjunction with NBC Sports.

Sports fans from across the world will decide who the most outstanding male and female athletes were in 2013 through online voting on the Academy’s website at The ballot of 12 males and 12 females goes live at midnight Sunday, Dec. 1 and closes at midnight Friday, Dec. 20.

The Academy's 2012 male Athlete of the Year was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

Last year, two of the world’s most dominating superstars at the 2012 London Olympic Games earned Athlete of the Year honors, attracting tens of thousands of votes a day from across the world.

The 2012 male Athlete of the Year was Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who continued his reign as the world’s fastest man by becoming the first to ever successfully repeat as the Olympic gold medalist in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.

The 2012 female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams, who took gold in the women’s singles and doubles at the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the only person to hold a career Golden Grand Slam in Olympic competition.

This year’s ballot includes a mixture of athletes from 11 different countries, including two athletes each from Jamaica and South Korea. The nominees represent a wide variety of popular winter and summer sports from fútbol to football. Their performances stood out and provided some of the best video highlights and stories in sports during the past year.

In alphabetical order, the 12 men competing for the Academy’s prestigious Athlete of the Year honor are:

  • Usain Bolt, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Joe Flacco, Football, United States
  • Chris Froome, Cycling, Great Britain
  • LeBron James, Basketball, United States
  • Wilson Kipsang, Marathon, Kenya
  • Todd Ligety, Skiing, United States
  • Lionel Messi, Soccer, Argentina
  • Rafael Nadal, Tennis, Spain
  • David Ortiz, Baseball, Dominican Republic
  • Manny Pacquiao, Boxing, Philippines
  • Kohei Uchimura, Gymnastics, Japan
  • Tiger Woods, Golf, United States

In alphabetical order, the 12 women competing for the Academy’s prestigious Athlete of the Year honor are:

  • Simone Boles, Gymanstics, United States
  • Missy Franklin, Swimming, United States
  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Katie Ledecky, Swimming, United States
  • Maya Moore, Basketball, United States
  • Inbee Park, Golf, South Korea
  • Suzann Pettersen, Golf, Norway
  • Brianna Rollins, Track and Field, United States
  • Mikaela Shiffrin, Skiing, United States
  • Abby Wambach, Soccer, United States
  • Serena Williams, Tennis, United States
  • Kim Yuna, Figure Skating, South Korea

The 2012 female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams.

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. Each month, the worldwide online votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the male and female winners.

The Academy, in conjunction with NBC Sports, will announce the 2013 Male and Female Athletes of the Year on Christmas Day on Wednesday, Dec. 25.

Go online today and cast your vote!

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