(L-R) Annie Peavy, Alex and Maia Shibutani, and Kyle Snyder are finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award.
From Mark Spitz to Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the AAU James E. Sullivan Award has been honoring the best amateur American athletes in history since 1930.
The Olympians and Paralympians nominated for the 2018 award hope to add their name to that growing lists of legends.
The 2018 finalists include Olympic bronze medalist ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani, Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kyle Snyder, and Paralympic equestrian athlete Annie Peavy. All have accomplished great things at a young age.
The Shibutani siblings, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, have had a remarkable season. They qualified for their second Olympic Winter Games after earning silver at nationals. In PyeongChang, they led the U.S. skating team with 18 points in the team event, helping Team USA win the bronze medal. They then went on to earn another bronze in ice dance, becoming the first ice dancers of Asian descent to medal at the Winter Games.
Snyder was a Sullivan Award finalist in 2017, and was coming off becoming the youngest U.S. wrestler to win Olympic gold at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Snyder comes into 2018 as an NCAA champion, Big Ten champion, and All-American for the second straight year. At the world championships, he defeated two-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia in what was called “Match of the Century.” His victory helped the U.S. win its first freestyle wrestling world title in 22 years and his second individual world title.
Peavy was just 19 when she made her Paralympic debut in Rio in 2016. Despite often competing against athletes twice her age, she has become a force to be reckoned within Para-equestrian. A rider since age 4, Peavy won the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in 2017.
The other finalists are Kelly Hunter (volleyball), Joel Berry II (basketball), Erin Finn (track & field) and Annika Albrecht (volleyball).
Fans may vote on their choice for the award through Thursday, March 29 at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be announced at the 88th Annual AAU Sullivan Award ceremony at the New York Athletic Club on April 17.Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.