NEW YORK, April 13. LATER tonight, Michael Phelps will find out if he’s made history – again. The reigning holder of the award, Phelps is looking for his second consecutive Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union to the top amateur athlete in the United States. Since the award was first handed out in 1930, no athlete has repeated.
Phelps is certainly the leading contender for the honor, as he packaged a year for the ages. At the Athens Olympics, Phelps walked away with eight medals, including six gold. Individually, he was victorious in the 100 and 200 butterfly events and the 200 and 400 individual medley disciplines. Phelps also won bronze in the 200 freestyle.
While his Sullivan credentials are based on the 2004 campaign, Phelps has wasted little time in building his resume for 2005. At the beginning of the month, Phelps won five events at the United States World Championship Trials. In Montreal this summer, he’ll chase world titles in the 100, 200 and 400 freestyles, the 100 fly and the 200 I.M.
When the Sullivan Award is announced tonight, Phelps will be among 10 finalists. Natalie Coughlin, who won five medals in Athens, is the other swimmer in contention. The remainder of the field includes Cael Sanderson (wrestling), Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson (gymnastics), Matt Leinart (college football), Jeremy Wariner (track and field), Andre Ward (boxing), Steven Lopez (taekwondo) and Elisa Au (karate).