COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 13, 2011 – Steven Legendre of Flower Mound, Texas, a senior at the University of Oklahoma and a member of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team, won the 2011 Nissen-Emery Award, which is given annually to the USA’s outstanding senior collegiate gymnast. The award was presented at a banquet prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships, which begin April 14 at Ohio State University.
“Winning the award was pretty awesome and a surreal feeling,” said Legendre. “Each candidate was well qualified and I feel honored to win it. Being given this award is a tremendous honor, and I feel very humbled. It feels great to join many other great Oklahoma gymnasts to win this award.”
A two-time Sooner team captain, Legendre holds six NCAA individual event titles – floor exercise (2008-2010), vault (2008, 2009), and all-around (2009) – and is tied for the most in Sooner history with 2008 Olympic silver-medalist Jonathon Horton, who was the 2008 Nissen-Emery Award winner and is also a member of the national team. Legendre, a nine-time All-American, competes this weekend in his final NCAA Championships and has the opportunity to go down as the most decorated gymnast in OU history.
As a member of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team, Legendre was a member of 2009 and 2010 World Championships Teams and a two-time floor exercise finalist. He helped the U.S. Team to a fourth-place finish in 2010. He has also earned three U.S. individual event titles, winning two floor (2008, 2009) and one vault (2010) title at the Visa Championships.
The other 2011 award finalists were: Brandon Wynn, Ohio State University; Tim Gentry, Stanford University; Bryan Del Castillo, University of California-Berkeley; Kyle Bunthuwong, University of California-Berkeley; Daniel Ribeiro, University of Illinois; and Chris Cameron, University of Michigan. Wynn and Cameron are also current members of the Men’s Senior National Team, and Gentry, Del Castillo and Bunthuwong are former national team members.
Established in 1966, the Nissen-Emery Award is college gymnastics’ highest honor and is funded through an endowment established by Dr. Robert W. Emery, the 1969 winner. Other former recipients include: Luke Stannard, University of Illinois, 2010; Casey Sandy, Pennsylvania State University, 2009 ; Jonathan Horton, University of Oklahoma, 2008; Matt Cohen, Penn State, 2007; Justin Spring, University of Illinois, 2006; Guillermo Alvarez, University of Minnesota, 2005; Dan Gill, Stanford University, 2004; Daniel Furney, University of Oklahoma, 2003; Justin Toman, University of Michigan, 2002; Jamie Natalie, Ohio State University, 2001; Blaine Wilson, Ohio State University, 1997; John Roethlisberger, University of Minnesota, 1993; Jim Hartung, University of Nebraska, 1982; Peter Vidmar, University of California – Los Angeles, 1983; Kurt Thomas, Indiana State University, 1979; Bart Conner, University of Oklahoma, 1981; Peter Kormann, Southern Connecticut State College, 1977; and James Curzi, Michigan State University, 1966 (the first recipient).