Just eight months ago, AAU alum LeBron James penned a letter for Sports Illustrated announcing his return home after three seasons with the Miami Heat. In that letter, James wrote about his modest upbringing and unparalleled experiences in Northeast Ohio.
Today, another group of Northeast Ohio natives – Dr. Roger Goudy (AAU President and CEO) and Melissa Willis (AAU James E. Sullivan Award Chair) – announced another momentous homecoming. The AAU James E. Sullivan Award, which annually recognizes the top athletes in amateur sports, will return to the birthplace of the Union, the New York Athletic Club, next month (Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m.) for the presentation of the 85th AAU Sullivan Award.
Handed out to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, the AAU Sullivan Award has been presented to some of the most successful athletes in history, including Bruce Jenner (1976), Peyton Manning (1997), Michael Phelps (2003), J.J. Redick (2005), Tim Tebow (2007), Shawn Johnson (2008) and Missy Franklin (2012). Along with superior athletic achievement, the AAU Sullivan Award honors athletes who embody the leadership, character and sportsmanship James Sullivan demonstrated throughout his career in sports.
Voting for the 85th Sullivan Award officially begins today and closes on Sunday, March 15.
Fourteen nominees, including Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott, Olympic figure skating gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles are among the AAU Sullivan Award hopefuls. Rounding out the list of semi-finalists are: Shawn Barber (pole vault), Adeline Gray (wrestling), Micha Hancock (volleyball), Haley Ishimatsu (diving), Katie Ledecky (swimming), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (basketball), Ollie Schniederjans (golf) and Maggie Steffens (water polo).
Click here to cast your vote for the best amateur athlete!