Past Winners

Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin

Sport: Swimming

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Biography: Unknown to many outside of the swimming community prior to 2012, Missy Franklin established herself as a household name with her performance at the 2012 London Olympics.

Franklin left London as the most decorated female of the Games from any country or in any sport, earning a total of five medals, four gold one bronze. She won two individual Olympic gold medals, breaking the Olympic and American record in the 100m back and the world and Olympic record in the 200m back. She also led off the world-record setting performance of the women’s 4x100m medley relay, won gold in the 4x200m free relay and earned a bronze in the 4x100m free relay. In addition to her amazing Olympic performance, Franklin also was named the 2011-2012 USA Swimming Grand Prix Champion.

In individual events in 2012, she broke a total of four American records, one world record, and 13 National Age Group records.

When she is not in the pool or working on her homework, Franklin spends time giving back to her community and doing charitable work. Her school requires a minimum of 85 hours of community service, but Franklin also spent an additional 100 hours volunteering her time in 2012. She has worked with agencies including the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (Ambassador for their Swim for MS program), Make-A Wish Foundation, Seeds of Hope, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Dani’s Foundation for Childhood Cancer, Excelsior Youth Center, First Bank Fitness Festival, Samaritan House, One Book for Colorado (preschool education initiative), Denver Children’s Hospital, the Fiesta Bowl, and Make A Hero.

On winning the award, Missy was in her senior year of high school and maintained a 4.0 GPA. She served as a member of the Esprit de Corps, the school’s advisory/leadership group and was selected by faculty to be a Kairos leader. She is also a Scholastic All-American in swimming and received their “Perfect Score” award, the only one in the country thatyear. Currently, she attends the University of California Berkeley.



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The Award

Known as the "Oscar" of sports awards and older than The Heisman, the AAU Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character.


The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports. During its early years, the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the U.S. in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic games. After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the AAU has focused its efforts into providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the grass roots level. The philosophy of "Sports for All, Forever," is shared by over 700,000 participants and over 150,000 volunteers.
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