ORLANDO, Fla. (November 22, 2022) – Five athletes, each at the top of their respective sports, have been named finalists for the 92nd AAU James E. Sullivan Award.
The athletes, voted as top finalists from an initial group of 19 nominees:
• Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling, USA Wrestling, 6x World Champion & Olympic Gold Medalist
• Jocelyn Alo, Softball, University of Oklahoma, 2x Player of the Year & NCAA Champion
• Ivan Melendez, Baseball, University of Texas, Consensus National Player of the Year & Golden Spikes Winner
• Carissa Moore, Surfing, USA Surfing, 5x World Champion & Olympic Gold Medalist
• Bryce Young, Football, University of Alabama, Heisman Trophy & Maxwell Award Winner
The AAU James E. Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding athlete at the collegiate or Olympic level in the United States.
In addition to athletic excellence, the AAU Sullivan Award aims to recognize the qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship on and off the field.
Jordan Burroughs has won seven World and Olympic gold medals, more than any other U.S. wrestler, surpassing former AAU Sullivan Award winner John Smith and Adeline Gray. Burroughs, a Sicklerville, New Jersey native, won Olympic gold in the 74kg class of freestyle wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics. His medal tally includes six World Championship golds, one Olympic gold, eight Pan American golds, four U.S. Open golds, plus two NCAA titles while a collegiate wrestler at Nebraska.
Editor’s notes on 2022 season: Burroughs won a gold medal at 79 kg at the 2022 World Wrestling Championships.He was also a 2022 Pan American Championships gold medalist, and qualified for the U.S. World Team with his victory in Final X. Overall, Burroughs has won an amazing 10 World and Olympic medals during his historic career.
There have been five previous Sullivan Award winners from wrestling: John Smith (1990), Bruce Baumgartner (1995), Rulon Gardner (2000), Kyle Snyder (2017) and Spencer Lee (2019). An athlete can only win the James E Sullivan Award once.
Other finalist information:
Jocelyn Alo is NCAA Softball’s all-time home runs leader, with 122 home runs in her legendary career, finishing her time on campus with a record three 30-plus home run seasons. The native of Hau’ula, Hawaii helped Oklahoma to back-to-back national titles in 2021 and 2022. In both seasons, Alo was named USA Softball and Big 12 Collegiate Player of the Year.
Ivan Melendez, quite simply, was the finest player in college baseball in 2022. After leading the University of Texas to the College World Series in 2021, the El Paso, Texas native returned to school and hit .387 with 96 hits, 94 RBIs and 32 home runs, winning the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy, issued annually to college baseball’s player of the year. He is nicknamed “The Hispanic Titanic.”
Carissa Moore is a five-time World Champion and two-time Triple Crown of Surfing champion, but may be best remembered as the first Olympic Gold Medalist in the women’s short board event at the 2020 Tokyo Games. The Honolulu, Hawaii native grew up surfing in the same bay as the legendary “father of surfing” Duke Kahanamoku. She was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in 2014 and is the first surfer in history to win a World Surf League title and Olympic gold medal in the same year.
Bryce Young is the first Heisman Trophy winner to also be a Sullivan finalist since Tim Tebow in 2007 -- only three athletes have won both. The native of Pasadena, California became Alabama’s fourth Heisman Trophy recipient since 2009, as he led the Crimson Tide back to the national title game. He was recognized as college football’s Player of the Year by the Associated Press and The Sporting News, and also won the Maxwell Award, which recognized college football’s top player, in 2021.
“It’s an honor to announce this incredible class of finalists, each of whom positively represent their sport,” said J.B. (Jo) Mirza, AAU President. “The AAU is one of the largest multi-sport organizations in the world, and we’re proud to provide an inclusive platform that allows athletes of all sports to compete for the AAU Sullivan Award.”
The winner of the AAU Sullivan Award will join a renowned list of recipients. Last year, Olympians Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel were crowned co-winners – becoming the fourth duo to win in the history of the award. Other prior winners include Carl Lewis (track and field), Wilma Rudolph (track and field), Bill Bradley (basketball), Mark Spitz (swimming), Bill Walton (basketball), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track and field), Rulon Gardner (wrestling), Michael Phelps (swimming), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Peyton Manning (football), J.J. Redick (basketball), and Tim Tebow (football).
This year’s winner will be announced on Thursday, December 8, 2022.