Sanderson wins Male Athlete of the Year from the U S Sports Academy based upon online voting

By United States | Dec. 26, 2002, 12 a.m. (ET)
LANCE ARMSTRONG wins U.S. Sports Academy 2002 Sports Athlete of the Year Cael Sanderson and Serena Williams named Male and Female Athletes of the Year ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Daphne, AL (December 24, 2002)- - LANCE ARMSTRONG, who won the 2002 Tour de France cycling competition for the fourth time, was the clear winner in the United States Sports Academy's 2002 Athlete of the Year balloting which closed today. Armstrong, who broke from the pole and never looked back, took an early lead and never relinquished it during the voting process, which began on 1 December. In the same ballot, Female Athlete of the Year honors were garnered by tennis great SERENA WILLIAMS, who won the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open in 2002. She out-polled Swedish golfer Annika Sorenstam and American skater and Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes. CAEL SANDERSON wrestled the Male Athlete of the Year award away from golfing legend, Tiger Woods. Sanderson, Iowa State University's great wrestler, won his fourth straight NCAA title in 2002 and posted a record setting career mark of 159 victories against no defeats. Woods, who won the U.S. Open, became only the third player in history to win back-to-back victories the Master's in 2002. Emmitt Smith, the Dallas Cowboy's running back, came in third in the voting after setting the all-time NFL rushing record this year. The Academy was assisted in delivering its 2002 ballot by USA Today and CNN/SI which made the ballot available on their web sites. The 2002 ballotwas a truly "world wide" voting process, which was clear by the numerous email responses from around the world commenting on the ballot and the individuals nominated. Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, CEO and President of the United States Sports Academy noted, "These are three of the world's finest athletes, and their acknowledgment by the voters is a testimony to the fact that athletic achievement is recognized regardless of the sport. We have a cyclist, a wrestler, and a tennis player who have dominated their individual sports, and they are to be commended for their accomplishments." The Academy is an accredited, independent, special-mission graduate school of sport offering programs of instruction, research and service, nationally and internationally. The role of the Academy in higher education is to prepare men and women for careers in sport in the many disciplines of the profession. U.S. Sports Academy Male Athlete of the Year standings 1. Cael Sanderson, U.S., wrestling 2. Tiger Woods, U.S. golf 3. Emmitt Smith. U.S., football 4. Ronaldo, Brazil, soccer 5. Shaquille O'Neal, U.S., basketball 6. Aaron Peirsol, U.S., swimming 7. Ole Einar Bjorndalen, Norway, biathlon 8. Michael Schumacher, German, auto racing 9. Tim Montgomery, U.S., track and field U.S. Sports Academy Female Athlete of the Year standings 1. Serena Williams, U.S. tennis 2. Annika Sorenstam, Sweden, golf 3. Sarah Hughes, U.S. figure skating 4. Natalie Coughlin, U.S., swimming 5. Paula Radcliff, England, marathon 6. Lisa Leslie, U.S., basketball 7. Angela Williams, U.S., track and field 8. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, alpine skiing 9. Lindsay Benko, U.S., swimming 10. Justine Bak, Poland, track and field US Sports Academy awards announcement (with Sanderson photo) U.S. Sports Academy Awards announcement