© John Cheng

ORLANDO, Fla., March 16, 2016 – For the second straight year, three-time U.S. and World all-around champion Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, is among the seven finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award. Voting for this year’s Sullivan Award recipient by the general public began today and runs through March 23 at www.aausullivan.org. The AAU James E. Sullivan Award presentation is scheduled for April 10 at the New York Athletic Club.

“Thank you to the AAU and sports and gymnastics fans for the great honor of being one of the finalists for this year’s AAU Sullivan Award for the second straight year,” Biles said. “I want to congratulate the other athletes on being a finalist for this prestigious award, and thanks to everyone who supported and helped me become a finalist.”

Biles is a three-time World all-around champion (2013-15), three-time U.S. national all-around champion (2013-15), three-time World floor exercise champion (2013-15), two-time World balance beam champion (2014-15) and a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. Women’s Teams at the 2014 and 2015 World Gymnastics Championships.

She is the first African-American to become the World all-around champion and the first woman to win three consecutive World all-around titles. Biles’ 14 World medals is the most won by any U.S. gymnast. Her 10 World gold medals are the most by a female gymnast in gymnastics history.

In 2008, Shawn Johnson became the third gymnast to win the coveted AAU Sullivan Award. Kurt Thomas was the 1979 recipient, with Paul Hamm winning the honor in 2004.

Joining Biles as a finalist for the 86th AAU Sullivan Award is Derrick Henry (Alabama football), Keenan Reynolds (Navy football), Mikaela Foecke (Nebraska volleyball), Jordan Burroughs (USA Wrestling), Brittany Bowe (US Speed Skating) and Breanna Stewart (UCONN basketball).

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 amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional 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) and Michael Phelps (2003). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973) and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) have also earned the prestigious honor.

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 www.aausports.org.