© Scott Bruhn, Nebraska Media Relations

Dec. 17, 2009 – 2009 NCAA all-around champion Courtney Kupets, who competed for the University of Georgia and was a member of the 2004 Olympic silver-medal team, is one of 12 women in contention for the U.S. Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Year. Fans can vote online at http://ussa.edu/ballots/athlete-of-the-year. Voting closes on Dec. 24, 2009. 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin and 2008 Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps were the 2008 winners of this award.

Kupets dominated women’s collegiate gymnastics in 2009, winning the all-around and three individual titles (uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise). She also helped Georgia to its fifth consecutive team title. For her accomplishments, Kupets won the national Honda-Broderick Cup (collegiate female athlete of the year).

In addition to Kupets, the women’s ballot also includes: Yelena Isinbaeva, track and field; Carmelita Jeter, track and field; Linet Masai, track and field; Lorena Ochoa, golf; Courtney Paris, basketball; Sanya Richards, track and field; Jiyai Shin, golf; Diana Taurasi, basketball; Lindsey Vonn, skiing; Chrissie Wellington, triathlon; and Serena Williams, tennis.

The men’s ballot consists of, in alphabetical order: Craig Alexander, triathlon; Usain Bolt, track and field; Drew Brees, football; Kobe Bryant, basketball; Angel Cabrera, golf; Roger Federer, tennis; Santonio Holmes, football; LeBron James, basketball; Jimmie Johnson, auto racing; Manny Pacquiao, boxing; Albert Pujols, baseball; and Tiger Woods, golf.