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.
The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the final competition to determine the Pyeongchang Olympic team, will be in San Jose, California, at the SAP Center, concluding Jan. 7.
It appears to be the earliest the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will end in an Olympic year in at least 50 years.
The competition will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed live on Icenetwork.com.
San Jose previously hosted the U.S. Championships in 1996 and 2012, but it has never hosted in an Olympic year.
Sochi Olympian Polina Edmunds is from San Jose and figures to receive a boost of crowd support. Edmunds, 18, begins classes at nearby Santa Clara University next month.
The January 2017 U.S. Championships will be in Kansas City. The international figure skating season starts next month, with Skate America kicking off the Grand Prix season in October.
Recent Nationals host cities in Olympic years were Boston in 2014 and Spokane, Washington, in 2010.
MORE: Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold headline Skate America
Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.
Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.
Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.
MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal