Mark Prior Named As First-Round Finalist For Sullivan Award

Jan. 17, 2002

ORLANDO, FL. - The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) has announced the names of the fourteen finalists for the 72nd Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award which recognizes the top amateur athlete in the nation. One of the fourteen athletes named as a finalist is USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner Mark Prior, from the University of Southern California. The last baseball player to capture the Sullivan Memorial Award was Jim Abbott in 1987.

Narrowed from a field of 30 nominees, the first-round finalists will be reduced to five athletes and their names will be released in mid-March. From the five names, the National winner will be formally recognized in early April.

The other 13 finalists are Tony Azevedo (waterpolo), Natalie Coughlin (swimming), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Matt Lindland (wrestling), Stephen Lopez (taekwondo), Ryan Miller (hockey), Toccara Montgomery (wrestling), Brandon Paulson (wrestling), Jason Reed (rowing), Sean Townsend (gymnastics), Allen Webb (track and field), Angela Williams (track and field), and Roy Williams (football).

The award, given to the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, is based on qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism. Both athletic accomplishment and strong moral character are considered by a 800 member panel of AAU board of directors, the U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors, the AAU Sullivan Committee, past Sullivan Award winners, and a select members of the sports media.

'These individuals exemplify the best amateur athletes in all of sport with their commitment to sportsmanship, community, and education,' said AAU President Bobby Dodd. 'The AAU represents 34 sports from the grass roots to the national level and they are the role models for our athletes to follow.'

Considered the 'Oscar' of sports awards, the AAU James E. Sullivan Award has been presented to prominent athletes of our time including last year's recipient Olympic Gold Medalist, Rulon Gardner. Others include: Chamique Holdsclaw (1998), Peyton Manning (1997), William 'Bill' Bradley (1965), Dan Jansen (1994), Janet Evans (1989), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986), Greg Louganis (1984), and the late Florence Griffith-Joyner (1988).

The AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the AAU, and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. The winner of the AAU Sullivan Award receives a bronze replica of the original trophy that depicts the figure of a runner carrying a laurel branch mounted on a black pedestal.

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs for all ages. Nearly 500,000 participants and over 50,000 volunteers share our philosophy of 'Sports for All, Forever. Divided into 57 distinct associations, the AAU sanctions more than 34 sports programs, 250 national championships and over 10,000 local events across the United States annually. For more information on the AAU please visit our website at

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