From grizzled vets to Olympic rookies, several top U.S. men had memorable experiences at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
Five of those gold-medalist men are up for Male Athlete of the Olympic Games. So, how to pick?
Let’s take a closer look at the incredible achievements and background of each athlete.
Then, to cast your vote, go to: www.TeamUSA.org/awards. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 9.
Voting for Best of the Games, presented by Dow, is also being held for best female athlete and best team.
Hometown: New York, New York
Rio Accomplishments: Anthony was captain of the men’s basketball team that won its third-consecutive gold medal.
Why it Mattered: Anthony is a four-time Olympian and the only men’s player to ever win three gold medals. In Rio, he became the all-time leading scorer in U.S. men’s Olympic history.
Fun Fact: He is the first men’s basketball player selected to four U.S. Olympic basketball rosters.
What’s Next: The New York Knicks’ star broke down in his final postgame, on-court interview. He stated this would be his final Olympic Games.
Sport: Track and Field
Hometown: Arnold, Maryland
Rio Accomplishments: In his second Olympic Games, Centrowitz won the gold medal in the 1,500-meter in a time of 3:50.00.
Why it Mattered: Not only did he get redemption after finishing fourth at the London 2012 Games, but he became the first American man to win this Olympic event in 108 years.
Fun Fact: His father, Matt Centrowitz Sr., ran the same event at the 1976 Montreal Games but didn’t medal.
What’s Next: Centrowitz, who will be 30 by the time the 2020 Tokyo Games roll around, said he might move toward the 5,000-meter as there are younger and quicker runners coming up. His time of 3:50 was the slowest winning time since 1932.
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Rio Accomplishments: In his second Olympic Games, he won his country’s first gold medal in BMX.
Why it Mattered: He did it with a broken left wrist. Period. Hands and wrists are equally as important as legs, wheels and spokes in BMX. Also, it broke an American medal drought from the 2012 London Games.
Fun Fact: While a fifth grader, Fields won a geography bee by answering the final question about Rio de Janeiro.
What’s Next: Fields said that before Tokyo 2020 there will be numerous events he’ll participate in, including next year’s world championships – the first BMX worlds held in the United States in 17 years. Meanwhile, he will attend UNLV in progress towards a business degree.
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Rio Accomplishments: In his fifth Olympic Games, Phelps won five gold medals and one silver medal, including gold in the 200-meter individual medley for the fourth-consecutive Games.
Why it Mattered: He put an emphatic exclamation point on his career. The 28-time Olympic medalist is the most decorated Olympian in history with 23 gold medals, three silvers and two bronzes. His 200 IM win was his 13th individual career gold, breaking a first-place tie with Leonidas of Rhodes, who won 12 at the Ancient Olympic Games.
Fun Fact: Phelps carried the American flag in the Opening Ceremony in Rio, the only time he’s walked in that ceremony because he didn’t have a race the next day.
What’s Next: Phelps declared the 2016 Rio Games would be the final competition of his unparalleled career. He will be an assistant swimming coach at Arizona State and has started the Michael Phelps Foundation to grow the sport of swimming and promote healthy lifestyles.
Hometown: Woodbine, Maryland
Rio Accomplishments: Snyder won a gold medal in his first Olympic Games, defeating 33-year-old Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan 2-1 for the title.
Why it Mattered: Snyder became the youngest American wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal.
Fun Fact: He started the sport when he was 5 when his parents saw an ad for a local wrestling club. His parents thought it was a good place for their rambunctious child. He eventually racked up a 179-0 record in high school.
What’s Next: Before he sets his eyes on the 2020 Tokyo Games, the Ohio State junior looks to defend his 2016 NCAA title. He finished second at NCAAs his freshman year before winning the world title that same year.
Scott McDonald has 18 years experience in sports reporting. He was named the State Sports Writer of the Year in 2014 by the Texas High School Coaches Association. McDonald is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.