© John Cheng

2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabrielle Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance, is one of 12 women vying for the United States Sports Academy’s female Athlete of the Year. Sports fans from around the world will decide who the outstanding male and female athletes for 2012 are through online voting at www.ussa.edu/ballots/athlete-of-the-year. The ballot with 12 men and 12 women goes live at midnight on Saturday, Dec. 1, and closes at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21. The Academy, in conjunction with NBC Sports, will announce the 2012 Male and Female Athletes of the Year on Tuesday, Dec. 25.

In 2012, Douglas helped the USA to only its second ever Olympic team gold medal at the Olympic Games in London. She went on to win the coveted Olympic all-around title, as well as qualified to the finals for both the uneven bars and balance beam. Douglas also won the all-around title at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where she also tied for first on the uneven bars. At the 2012 Visa Championships, Douglas won the U.S. uneven bars title, as well as the all-around silver and floor exercise bronze medals.

In addition to Douglas, the women competing for the honor are:

  • Victoria Azarenka, tennis, Belarus
  • Tamika Catchings, basketball, United States
  • Jessica Ennis, track and field, Great Britain
  • Allyson Felix, track and field, United States
  • Missy Franklin, swimming, United States
  • Carmelita Jeter, track and field, United States
  • Carolina Kostner, figure skating, Italy
  • Jessica Korda, golf, United States
  • Yani Tseng, golf, Taiwan
  • Lindsey Vonn, skiing, United States
  • Serena Williams, tennis, United States

The 12 men vying for the annual award are:

  • Drew Brees, football, United States
  • Usain Bolt, track and field, Jamaica
  • Miguel Cabrera, baseball, Venezuela
  • J.R. Celski, speedskating, United States
  • Novak Djokovic, tennis, Serbia
  • Ashton Eaton, track and field, United States
  • LeBron James, basketball, United States
  • Rory McIlroy, golf, Ireland
  • Lionel Messi, soccer, Argentina
  • Andy Murray, tennis, Scotland
  • Michael Phelps, swimming, United States
  • Bradley Wiggins, cycling, Great Britain

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. Each month, the worldwide online votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the male and female winners.