AAU Announces 2012 Sullivan Award Semifinalists

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Voting Starts Today to Find Outstanding Amateur Athlete

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The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) today announced that 15 semifinalists have been selected for the 2012 James E. Sullivan Award, which honors the nation's outstanding amateur athlete. Semifinalists include Olympic gold medalists Gabrielle Douglas, Missy Franklin, David Boudia, and Barrett Jones, member of Alabama’s 2012 BCS National Championship team.

“I am extremely proud of the 2012 slate of semifinalists for the highest honor the AAU bestows—The AAU James E. Sullivan Award,” said Henry Forrest, President of the AAU. “These young women and men are the best and the brightest among the hundreds of thousands of amateur athletes who are pursuing their dreams. Not just on the court, the field, the mat, the water or in the gym, these outstanding athletes demonstrate character and leadership in their communities as well.”

Voting for the 2012 AAU Sullivan Award is now open to the public and will account for one-third of the athlete’s overall score. The semifinalists were nominated by their school’s athletic department or sport’s national governing body. The public can cast their vote by going to http://www.aausullivan.org. Voting will remain open until March 17th at 11:59 EST.

Three finalists will be named on March 25th and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 16th at the AAU’s National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

The Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930, and is based on character, leadership and sportsmanship. Notable recipients of the AAU Sullivan Award include: Mark Spitz, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Joyner, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps, J.J. Redick, Tim Tebow, and Shawn Johnson.

Semifinalists for the 2012 James E. Sullivan Award from the AAU:

Darren Barnes
USA Weighlifting
Darren Barnes is a competitive lifter for USA Weightlifting who set six national records at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Most recently, he set two records at the American Open, qualifying him for the 2013 World Junior Championships. While competing competitively, Darren still managed to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA.

David Boudia
USA Diving
USA Diving's Athlete of the Year, David Boudia took home gold in the men's 10-meter platform at the 2012 Olympic Games. He became the first American man to do so since 1992 and the first American man to do so on platform since Greg Louganis in 1988. David also took home Olympic bronze in the synchronized 10-meter event.

Liz Brenner
Oregon Volleyball, Basketball, Softball
A three-sport athlete at the University of Oregon, Liz Brenner became Oregon’s first underclassmen volleyball All-American and helped the Ducks to a NCAA runner up finish this past season. She’s also taking her talents to the hardwood and the track to finish up her sophomore year. As a freshman, Liz was an All-Pac-12 Freshman Team volleyball choice and also played basketball and softball.

Jordan Burroughs
USA Wrestling
Jordan Burroughs is a decorated athlete in the world of freestyle wrestling. In 2011, he became only the fourth wrestler ever to win an NCAA Championship and World Championship in the same year. Jordan followed up that performance by winning the 74kg title at the Pan American Games and a Olympic gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

Isaiah Canaan
Murray State Men’s Basketball
Isaiah Canaan is the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year. He’s a multiple All-America pick and was named to 12 different preseason award lists, including the John Wooden Award and Naismith Award.

Elena Delle Donne
University of Delaware Women’s Basketball
Senior basketball player at the University of Delaware, Elena Delle Donne holds 10 records for the Blue Hens, including first in points with 2,552, eclipsing the previous record by more than 1,000 points. She was named to the preseason Wade National Player of the Year and Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year watch lists.

Gabrielle Douglas
USA Gymnastics
A member of The Fierce Five that won the Olympic team gold in London, Gabrielle Douglas made history at the 2012 Olympics when she became the first African American to win the women’s all-around Olympic gold. She’s also the first U.S. gymnast to win both the Olympic team and all-around titles at the same Games.

Missy Franklin
USA Swimming
Missy Franklin left the 2012 Olympics as the most decorated female of the Games from any country or in any sport, earning a total of five medals—four gold and one bronze. She broke Olympic and World records in the 100m and 200m back. Outside of the pool, Missy has worked with the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and Make-A-Wish Foundation, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Brittney Griner
Baylor Women’s Basketball
Brittney Griner earned every women’s national player of the year honors after leading the Baylor Bears to a 2012 NCAA national championship and an unprecedented 40-0 record, a feat no other basketball team, men’s or women’s, had ever achieved. Awards include the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, and AP Player of the Year.

Steve Johnson
University of Southern California Tennis
Steve Johnson is a seven-time tennis All-American, four-time NCAA team champion and back-to-back NCAA singles champion for the USC Trojans. He could’ve turned pro after his junior year, but chose his team over his individual goals. Steve leaves USC with a 72-match win streak, 30 matches more than the previous record holder.

Barrett Jones
University of Alabama Football
A two-time SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year, Barrett helped lead Alabama to three BCS National Championships all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. He's the only player in college football history to win the Rimington Trophy (award for nation's top center) and the Outland Trophy (2011) at two different positions or in two different years.

Claressa Shields
USA Boxing
Seventeen-year-old Claressa Shields claimed the gold medal in the middleweight division at the 2012 Olympics' inaugural event. She became the second-youngest fighter, man or woman, to win gold. Claressa was the lone American fighter to reach a gold-medal match in London.

Maggie Steffens
USA Water Polo
Named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Olympics for water polo, Maggie Steffens led the U.S. women’s water polo team to an Olympic gold medal. She tied an Olympic record with seven goals scored in her first game as an Olympian, and went on to score a record 21 goals at the Games. Maggie capped off the year being named top female water polo player of 2012 by FINA, the international governing body for aquatics.

Breanna Stewart
USA Basketball
Named the Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year, Breanna Stewart is currently a top-three scorer for the UCONN Huskies as a freshman. She took home a team gold and MVP honors at 2012 FIBA Americas Championships this past summer with the 18u National Team. In 2011, she became just the second high school girls’ basketball player to represent USA in the Pan American Games.

Mike Zunino
University of Florida Baseball, USA Baseball
Drafted third overall in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft by the Seattle Mariners, Mike Zunino is the highest selection in Florida Gator history. He's the first Gator to take home the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy, Johnny Bench Award and Baseball America's College Player of the Year accolade. In his senior season, Mike led the Gator's in batting average (.322), RBI (67) and home runs (19).

About the AAU
Founded in 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. The philosophy of “Sports for All, Forever,” is shared by over 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers. The AAU is divided into 57 distinct Districts which annually sanction more than 34 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 30,000 age division events. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.

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Kristina Haumschild
Amateur Athletic Union
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