HONOLULU, December 9, 2022 (Newswire.com) - Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore is the winner of the 92nd AAU James E. Sullivan Award. She's the first surfer and first Hawaii native to ever take home the prestigious award, which has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding athlete at the collegiate or Olympic level in the United States.
Moore was presented with the AAU Sullivan Award during the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame ceremony at the historic Outrigger Canoe Club in Honolulu on Thursday, Dec. 8.
"To the AAU, thank you so much for this incredible honor," she said. "When I first heard I was nominated, I was already blown away. Wow, this is really cool. I really appreciate it. Thank you."
Moore is a five-time World Champion and two-time Triple Crown of Surfing champion, but may be best remembered as the first Olympic gold medalist in the women's short board event at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The Honolulu, Hawaii native grew up surfing in the same bay as the legendary "father of surfing" Duke Kahanamoku. Duke has a history with AAU himself -- he won the AAU's first swim race in Hawaii in 1911, shattering the world record in the 100-yard freestyle. He competed in the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Olympic Games for the AAU; at that time, the AAU organization acted as the governing body of U.S. Olympic athletes.
Moore was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame in 2014, into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame in 2021, and is the first surfer in history to win a World Surf League title and Olympic gold medal in the same year.
"I'm extremely proud of our recipient this year. Carissa Moore is a perfect example of what this award represents - athletic excellence, leadership, character, and sportsmanship," said J.B. (Jo) Mirza, AAU President. "She will forever be remembered as the first-ever surfer to win the AAU Sullivan Award, and first from Hawaii, which is a remarkable milestone in the award's storied history."
Moore joins a renowned list of recipients. Last year, Olympians Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel were crowned co-winners. Other prior winners include Carl Lewis (track and field), Wilma Rudolph (track and field), Bill Bradley (basketball), Mark Spitz (swimming), Bill Walton (basketball), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track and field), Rulon Gardner (wrestling), Michael Phelps (swimming), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Peyton Manning (football), J.J. Redick (basketball), and Tim Tebow (football).
The other finalists for the 92nd AAU James E. Sullivan Award included Jocelyn Alo (softball), Jordan Burroughs (wrestling), Ivan Melendez (baseball), and Bryce Young (football).
Trophy presentation and acceptance speech (video, photo) available here:
Source: Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)