Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder Katie Ledecky has been named to the list of nominees in contention for the 2013 James E. Sullivan Award by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The award honors those who excel in amateur athletics and includes a total of 19 individuals across the country ranging from Olympians to collegiate champions in a variety of different sporting events.
Ledecky joins the list as the youngest athlete among the 19 nominees. At just 16 years old, Ledecky produced one of swimming’s most remarkable seasons in 2013, compiling four gold medals at the FINA World Championships, five national titles, two world records and four American records. For her efforts she was recognized as the 2013 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year, 2013 FINA World Swimmer of the Year and Swimming World Magazine’s American and World Swimmer of the Year.
She also won USA Swimming Golden Goggle Awards for Female Athlete of the Year and Female Race of the Year. Additionally, Ledecky was honored for her character and leadership by being selected as the 2013 U.S. Olympic Committee SportsWoman of the Year.
At age 15, Ledecky was the youngest member of the entire U.S. Olympic athlete delegation at the 2012 London Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 800m free in her very first international and Olympic swim event.
Following that success, Ledecky returned to high school as an Olympic champion and in 2013 continued her extremely active role as a leader in her civic, athletic and academic communities.
Currently, she serves as an officer on her high school's Campus Ministry board, which plans and conducts liturgy and service opportunities for students. On select weekends, Ledecky joins a group of 25 fellow classmates who serve meals to the homeless at the Shepherd's Table shelter in Silver Spring, Md.
Also a frequent public speaker at local schools in the Washington, D.C., area, she works as a volunteer participant at Wounded Warriors Project events and is a student volunteer for Bikes for the World, which collects and repairs bicycles and delivers them to developing nations. Ledecky has also worked with the Help 2.0 project, which seeks to promote the construction of clean drinking water wells throughout the world.
In recognition of her many civic contributions, Ledecky became the youngest recipient ever of the John Carroll Society Medal from the Archdiocese of Washington and will be accorded the Greater Washington Urban League's Whitney M. Young, Jr. Achievement Award at the organization's gala later this month.
Ledecky is one of two Olympic athletes in the running for the 2013 Sullivan Award. David Boudia also serves as a nominee as a gold medalist in the London Games for the 10-meter platform diving competition.
Each athlete was selected based on their qualifications of demonstrating outstanding athletic ability, strong character, leadership and sportsmanship.
The winner of the 2013 AAU Sullivan Award is determined by a point system; one-third of an athlete’s overall score comes from public voting. Today marks the first day of voting in favor of supporting a desired winner. The public is encouraged to cast their vote by going to the AAU website. Voting remains open until March 23 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
After public voting concludes, three finalists will be announced no later than March 28. The final winner will then be presented at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
To cast your vote for Ledecky, click here.