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Missy Franklin leads list of Sullivan Finalists

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Missy Franklin has been named one of three finalists for the AAU Sullivan Award Tuesday, which honors America’s top amateur athlete.

Missy outlasted five London Olympic gold medalists including diver David Boudia, boxer Clareesa Shields, gymnast Gabby Douglas, water polo player Maggie Steffens, and wrestler Jordan Burroughs in the fan vote.

Now her five Olympic medals, two world records, and title of FINA Swimmer of the Year will go up against weightlifter Darren Barnes, who owns every single junior, school age, and senior record in the 56kg weight class, and Liz Brenner, who earned second-team All-American status as a volleyball player at Oregon, started on the University basketball and softball teams, and throws shot and discus for the track team.

But even against those impressive talents, Missy is likely to join London U.S. teammates Michael Phelps and Jessica Long, as well as the legendary Mark Spitz on the list of acquatic athletes who’ve taken home the prestigious award. The AAU will announce the winner at ceremony in Florida on April 16.

President Obama to female Olympians: ‘Y’all crushed it’ (video)

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29:  U.S. President Barack Obam (R) is presented with a Team USA surfboard by Olympian Simone Biles (2nd L) as first lady Michelle Obama (L) looks on during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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President Barack Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Obama opened his speech by saying that he had planned on doing a floor routine with Simone Biles, before ultimately deciding that the room was too crowded. First Lady Michelle Obama interjected to remind the crowd that her husband “can’t touch his toes.”

The President then singled out the athletic accomplishments of Olympians including Biles, Michelle Carter, Simone Manuel, Claressa Shields, Kristin Armstrong, Kim Rhode, Allyson Felix, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

He also recognized: Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, Sam Kendricks, the U.S. Army reservist who put down his pole and stood at attention when the national anthem started playing, Will Claye, who proposed to U.S. hurdler Queen Harrison after winning an Olympic silver medal, and Abbey D’Agostino, who helped an opponent to her feet after a crash.

“That is exactly what the Olympic spirit and the American spirit should be all about,” Obama said about the sportsmanship of D’Agostino.

The President was particularly enthusiastic about the performance of the female athletes.

“2016 belonged to America’s women Olympians,” Obama said. “Y’all crushed it.”

Watch Obama’s full speech here.

After Obama’s speech, Biles presented him with a surfboard autographed by the Olympians in attendance.

“I’m going to have a lot of time to surf next year,” Obama said.

MORE: Photos of Team USA at the White House

Photos: Team USA at the White House

Twitter: @TeamUSA
Twitter: @TeamUSA
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Below are some of the best photos of Team USA from inside the White House: