Missy Franklin wins AAU’s prestigious Sullivan Award

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London swimming phenom Missy Franklin took home the Sullivan Award, given to America’s top amateur athlete each year by the AAU, at a ceremony in Florida Tuesday night.

“This award means a lot to me because of how much I’ve given up to be amateur,” Missy said during her acceptance. “I absolutely love being an amateur athlete, and to be a part of something so special that honors that is amazing.”

Though listed as a Regis Jesuit High School swimmer, Franklin is a bit better known for the five Olympic medals she won last summer in London to become the most decorated American female athlete at a single Games. But the humble young champion seemed to be more excited about the people who had won the award ahead of her, including famous Swimming USA teammate Michael Phelps.

“I’m looking at awards won before me, and there’s Tracy Caulkins and Bruce Jenner and Peyton Manning,” Missy added. “It’s incredible. All these athletes have won the award. It’s such an honor. I can’t believe my picture’s going up next to theirs.”

Franklin, who beat out Oregon all-around athlete Liz Brenner and weightlifter Darren Barnes for the award, turns 18 next month will start her two-year collegiate career at Cal Berkeley this fall before shedding her amateur status ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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