Water Polo: Ashleigh Johnson Named Finalist for AAU James E. Sullivan Award; Voting Open

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The title of top amateur athlete in America is up for debate this week, as Olympic gold medal water polo goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson was announced today as a finalist for the 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award.

Johnson has proven to be one of the best water polo players in the world. She helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and took home Top Goalkeeper honors in the process. Johnson added gold medals at the FINA Intercontinental Tournament, Olympic Qualification Tournament and FINA World League Super Final while earning recognition as the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sports Women of the Year.

“I’m grateful to be selected as a finalist for the Sullivan Award, it is an honor to come this far in the process and I’m truly thankful to all those that have supported me,” Johnson said. “This is the latest step in a wonderful journey for me and all of my teammates who achieved our Olympic dream in Rio. Any accolades I receive are a reflection of our team and I look forward to the coming weeks and the opportunity to further celebrate our accomplishments and the sport of water polo.”

Joining Johnson on the ballot, which opens for a public vote today at www.aausullivan.org, is Wisconsin volleyball star Lauren Carlini, USA Gymnastics gold medalists Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman, USA Wrestling gold medalist and Ohio State Buckeyes collegiate champion Kyle Snyder, USA Shooting gold medalist and West Virginia Mountaineers collegiate champion Ginny Thrasher and USA Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison.

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 the largest multi-sport organization in the nation, the AAU James E. Sullivan Award represents everything we stand for as an organization,” said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. “Part of our mission is to provide a venue for amateur athletes to promote good sportsmanship and good citizenship. Each of our seven finalists — and the winners that came before them — truly embodies that mission.”

The winner will be announced at the AAU James E. Sullivan Award Ceremony presented by Eastbay on Tuesday, April 11 at the New York Athletic Club. Visit www.aausullivan.org for more information. Please contact Cody Norman (cnorman@aausports.org) to apply for media credentials for the event.

Vote for finalists.

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest- non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 35 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. For more information, visit www.aausports.org.

Press release courtesy of USA Water Polo
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Chuck Kroll
Chuck Kroll
7 years ago

Other notable ‘Aqualete’ Sullivan Award winners include (S)wimmer Ann Curtis ’44, (D)iver Sammy Lee ’53 (RIP), Pat McComick D ’56, Don Schollander S ’64, John Kinsella S ’70, Mark Spitz S ’71, Tim Shaw S ’75, John Nabor S ’77, Tracy Caulkins S ’78, Greg Louganis D ’87, Janet Evans S ’89, Michael Phelps S ’03, Missy Franklin S ’12…

Chuck Kroll
Chuck Kroll
7 years ago


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