American swimmer Missy Franklin before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 31-19.
Courtesy of: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida, March 27. MISSY Franklin is one of three finalists for the prestigious AAU Sullivan Award, which honors the top amateur athlete of the year.

Franklin, the recipient of five medals (four gold, one bronze) at the 2012 Olympics, is the only aquatic sports athlete among the finalists. If she receives the award, she will be the first aquatic sports athlete to win since Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long received the honor in 2006.

The other finalists this year are junior world champion weightlifter Darren Barnes and University of Oregon multi-sport athlete Liz Brenner (volleyball, basketball, softball).


The finalists were whittled down from 15 semifinalists. Public voting, as well as votes by various sport federations and collegiate athletic staff, helped determine this year's finalists.

The winner will be named April 16.

List of aquatic sports Sullivan Award winners:

1944: Ann Curtis (swimming)
1953: Sammy Lee (diving)
1956: Pat McCormick (diving)
1964: Don Schollander (swimming)
1968: Debbie Meyer (swimming)
1970: John Kinsella (swimming)
1971: Mark Spitz (swimming)
1975: Tim Shaw (swimming)
1977: John Naber (swimming)
1978: Tracy Caulkins (swimming)
1989: Janet Evans (swimming)
2003: Michael Phelps (swimming)
2006: Jessica Long (swimming)