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15 Mar 2017

Highly Decorated Class of Finalists Announced for 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award

Highly Decorated Class of Finalists Announced for 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 15, 2017) – The title of top amateur athlete in America is up for debate this week, as seven deserving finalists – Wisconsin volleyball All-American Lauren Carlini, judo Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison,  gold medalist gymnast, Laurie Hernandez, water polo gold medalist Ashleigh Johnson,  target shooter Ginny Thrasher who also won gold, Aly Raisman gold medal gymnast and wrestler Kyle Snyder, another gold winner  – were announced today for the 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award. 

“Being recognized as a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award is an incredible honor for all our finalists,” said Melissa Willis, AAU Sullivan Award National Chair. “Our seven finalists embody the extraordinary athletic success and high character amateur athlete this award was created to honor.”

Voting for the award is open to the public at Finalist voting opens today and will close on Wednesday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m.

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 for more information.

Please contact Cody Norman ( to apply for media credentials for the event.



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


Cody Norman, AAU Public Relations Manager

p: 407-828-8323

c: 321-246-8061


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