Past Winners

Michael Phelps, 74th Annual AAU Sullivan Award Winner

Michael Phelps, 74th Annual AAU Sullivan Award Winner

Sport: Swimming

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Biography: Phelps was the only man to win five U.S. National titles at the same championships.

He was the first swimmer to win the award since Janet Evans in (1989). Mark Spitz won the 1971 award, and then won seven events at the 1972 Munich Games.

Became the first swimmer to set 5 world records at one meet at the 2003 FINA World Championships; winning 4 gold medals and two silver. He was the first man in history to win a U.S. National title in three different strokes at one national championship. Current world-record holder in the 100m, 200m fly, 200m, and 400m individual medley.

Became the youngest man to ever break a world record at 15 years, 9 months in the 200m fly at the 2001 Spring Nationals.


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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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