Elite Group of Semifinalists Announced for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award to Recognize Nation’s Top Amateur Athlete

Elite Group of Semifinalists Announced for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award to Recognize Nation’s Top Amateur Athlete

The best in amateur athletics will be put to a public vote this week, as the field of 28 semifinalists will be narrowed in the race for the historic 88th AAU James E. Sullivan Award.

This year’s group of semifinalists includes:

  • Annika Albrecht, women’s volleyball
  • Rhamat Alhassan, women’s volleyball
  • Marvin Bagley III, men’s basketball
  • Saquon Barkley, football
  • Joel Berry II, men’s basketball
  • Christian Coleman, track and field
  • Caleb Dressel, swimming
  • Erin Finn, track and field
  • Sara Hughes, beach volleyball
  • Kelly Hunter, women’s volleyball
  • Megan Johnson, fitness and bodybuilding
  • Micah Kiser, football
  • Bryce Love, football
  • Helen Maroulis, wrestling
  • Baker Mayfield, football
  • Chris Mazdzer, luge
  • Elana Meyers Taylor, bobsled
  • Angela Peavy, para-equestrian
  • Kathryn Plummer, women’s volleyball
  • Maia and Alex Shibutani, figure skating
  • John Shuster, curling
  • Carli Snyder, women’s volleyball
  • Kyle Snyder, wrestling
  • Maggie Steffens, water polo
  • Gabby Williams, women’s basketball
  • A’ja Wilson, women’s basketball
  • Trae Young, men’s basketball
  • Katie Zafares, triathlon

“We are so excited about this year’s group of AAU James E. Sullivan Award semifinalists,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “This is a unique opportunity for us to recognize amateur athletes across a number of different sports – from para-equestrian and curling to men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.”

The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize contributions and achievements from amateur athletes across the country.

World renowned golfer Robert “Bobby” Jones received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win the award include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986), Michael Phelps (2003) and Shawn Johnson (2008). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973), University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) and Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (2014) have also earned the prestigious honor.

“As they do every year, this group of semifinalists embodies everything we aim to celebrate with the AAU James E. Sullivan Award,” said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. “These athletes are exceptional athletes – some of the top performers in their particular sports – but they are also extraordinary people who display leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship both on and off the field.”

Voting for the award is open to the public at www.aausullivan.org. The semifinalist round opened at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Finalists will be named on Wednesday, March 21 and the AAU James E. Sullivan Award presentation will be held at the prestigious New York Athletic Club on Tuesday, April 17.

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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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