PHOENIX, Arizona, April 16. TONIGHT the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) will announce the winner of the 2012 Sullivan Award. Missy Franklin is one of three finalists for the prestigious 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.
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)