||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 a 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 Sullivan Award was established in 1930 to honor
James E. Sullivan, a founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic
Union (AAU). Recognized as a pioneer in the amateur sports movement,
Sullivan is credited with developing the current concept of the playground
and organized recreation of the present day. Accordingly, he and others
opened the first public playground and gymnasium in New York City
Born in New York City, Sullivan was a founder of the Public School
Athletic League of New York, which now serves as a forerunner for
other cities in this country. He also was one of the organizers
of the Outdoor Recreation League and served as its second president.
His administrative and leadership qualities were tested outside
of athletics when he served as a member of the New York Board of
Education from 1908-1912.
Sullivan served as president of the Metropolitan Association of
the AAU (New York) and later served as president of the New Jersey
Athletic Club. Sullivan served as the Commissioner of Athletics
for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition and three subsequent expositions
in Jamestown, Va., Portland, Ore., and San Francisco, California.
In recognition of his services as director of the 1904 Olympic
Games, Sullivan was presented the Olympic medal by the International
Olympic Committee, the only American other than President McKinley
to be so honored at the time. He also served as the Commissioner
of the Olympic Games in Athens, London, and Stockholm. For his service
to amateur athletics at the Olympiads, Sullivan received the decoration
of the Golden Cross of Knights of the Royal Order of the Savior
from King George of Greece, Knight Royal Order of Wasa from King
Gustave of Sweden and Olympic decoration of the Golden Eagle from
the Imperial German Olympic Commission.