DAPHNE, Ala. – A pair of top American athletes have won the United States Sports Academy’s contest for the May Male and Female Athlete of the Month honors. Basketball player Kawhi Leonard and swimmer Lilly King took home the institution’s top honors for the month.
Leonard averaged 30 points in 12 NBA Playoff games for the Toronto Raptors in May 2019 and led the team to its first NBA Finals appearance in history. Leonard averaged 29.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in Toronto’s six-game Eastern Conference Finals series against Milwaukee.
King won gold in the 200-meter breaststroke and 50-meter breaststroke events in the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Champions Series in Indianapolis on May 31. King finished the 200-meter event in 2:21.39 and the 50-meter even in 29.63 seconds, the fastest time of the year. She also won the 100-meter breaststroke race in the event.
The second-place finisher on the men’s side was American golfer Brooks Koepka and third place went to Canadian athlete Damian Warner.
Koepka shot an 8-under-par 272 to capture his second consecutive PGA Championship title at the Bethpage State Park Black Course in New York on May 19. Koepka has won four majors in the last 23 months and is the world’s top-ranked player.
Warner won the decathlon event and broke his own world decathlon record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.12 seconds at the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting in Austria on May 26. Warner finished the decathlon with 8,711 points, 240 more points than his nearest competitor.
The second-place finisher on the women’s side was American athlete Katie Zaferes and third place went to Slovenian sport climber Janja Garnbret.
Zaferes won her third consecutive World Triathlon Series gold medal in Yokohama, Japan, on May 20. Zaferes is undefeated for the triathlon season and claimed the world’s top ranking after the event.
Garnbret continued her perfect start to the season with her fifth consecutive victory at the International Federation of Sport Climbing Bouldering World Cup in Munich on May 19.
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, Medallion Series, Distinguished Service Awards, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 34th year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.
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.
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,800 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to ASAMA.org.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit USSA.edu. SEE RELATED LINKS BELOW