COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 9. WITH nine gold medals won between them at the FINA world swimming championships, it might come as little surprise that Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte were named the August female and male athletes of the month by the U.S. Olympic Committee today.
The USOC voted on the top individual athlete of the month, and the public got to weigh in on their choice through online voting as well. Franklin got the most votes in the women’s category, with track star Brianna Rollins placing second. Rollins won gold in the 100-meter hurdles last month at the track and field world championships. In third place in the voting was para-cyclist Monica Bascio, who won gold in the International Cycling Union Para-cycling Road World Championships.
Franklin did what no woman has done at a world championships, winning six gold medals (three individual, three relay) in one meet. She won her first international 200 freestyle title in Barcelona, and continued her success in the backstroke events with a sweep of the 100 and 200 distances. She also contributed heavily to wins in the 400 free relay, 800 free relay and 400 medley relay.
Lochte walked away from Barcelona with three gold medals and four overall. He repeated as world champion in the 200 individual medley and 200 backstroke, and helped the Americans win the 800 free relay. He also won silver in the 400 free relay. He was on target for a fourth gold medal, but the USA was disqualified in the 400 medley relay on the final day.
The medal haul — and his immense popularity — helped Lochte gain the most votes ahead of track and field star David Oliver, who won the 110-meter hurdles at the world championships, and fencer Miles Chamley-Watson, the first American to win a world fencing title when he captured gold last month at the world championships.
Aquatic sports was represented in the team category, as the national women’s junior water polo team placed third in voting after winning the gold at the world junior championships. The men’s 4×100 relay track team won the team of the month honor, while the women’s sitting volleyball team placed second.
This marks the second month in 2013 that has honored swimmers in the athlete of the month voting. Katie Ledecky was given the July award after her performances at the USA Swimming nationals.