Biles Named Academy's 2016 Female Athlete of the Year
posted on 01/25/2017

© John Cheng

DAPHNE, Ala., Jan. 25, 2017 – The United States Sports Academy has named 2016 Olympic all-around champion Simone Biles as female Athlete of the Year. The Athlete of the Year Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serves as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to honor those who have made significant contributions to sport.

Biles made history at the 2016 Olympic Games by winning four gold medals and becoming the most decorated U.S. gymnast in history with her 19 World and Olympic medals. She joins Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin as the only U.S. women to collect five Olympic gymnastics medals at a single Games. Biles’ four gold medals tie the Olympic record for a female gymnast in a single Games. A three-time World all-around champion (2013-15), Biles became the fourth female gymnast in Olympic history to capture back-to-back World and Olympic all-around titles and the first since Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996. She joins Gabby Douglas (2012), Liukin (2008), Carly Patterson (2004), and Retton (1984) as the only U.S. women to win an Olympic all-around title. Biles’ victory gave the United States a fourth consecutive gold medal in the women’s all-around, a feat no other country has accomplished at the Olympics in men’s or women’s gymnastics, and its fifth overall. She also won the USA’s first-ever women’s vault gold medal.

Michael Phelps was named male Athlete of the Year.

The awards are the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong selection process through which outstanding accomplishments of men and women in sports from around the globe are recognized. Each month, the public is invited to participate in the Academy’s worldwide Athlete of the Month program by nominating athletes and then voting online during the first week of every month. The online votes are used to guide the Academy selection committee in choosing the male and female monthly winners, who then become eligible for selection to the prestigious Athlete of the Year ballot. A worldwide public vote on the annual ballot is used to guide the committee in making the final selection.

The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards. This is the 32nd year of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program.

Background information
  • United Sports Academy. Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

  • The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives. Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

  • USA Gymnastics. Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and Gymnastics for All (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more complete information, log on to www.usagym.org.