| Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The United States Sports Academy has named Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md./North Baltimore Aquatic Club) as the winner of its male Athlete of the Year award for 2016.Phelps won a total of six medals – five gold and one silver – in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Phelps won gold in the 200-meter butterfly, 200m individual medley, 400m freestyle relay, 400m medley relay and 800m freestyle relay, as well as silver in the 100m butterfly. Phelps now holds the Olympic medal record with 28 total medals, 23 of which are gold, and is the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Gymnast Simone Biles was named female Athlete of the Year.
The awards are the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong selection process through which outstanding accomplishments of men and women in sports from around the globe are recognized. Each month, the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes are used to guide the Academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.
The Athlete of the Year Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serves as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport.
The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.