Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel Crowned 91st AAU James E. Sullivan Award Co-Winners, Presented by Eastbay

Published : Saturday, October 23, 2021, 11:53 am
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ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the third time in AAU James E. Sullivan Award history, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced co-winners for the 91st AAU James E. Sullivan Award presented by Eastbay--Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel. The ceremony took place at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, and the trophy was presented during a special halftime recognition during the NBA Orlando Magic game the evening of Friday, October 22.

Biles became the fourth gymnast to receive the honor of top athlete of the year, while Dressel became the 11th swimmer to take home the title. The pair are the third duo to win in the history of the award. Other 91st AAU James E. Sullivan finalists included Athing Mu (track and field), Maddie Musselman (water polo) and Kevin Kopps (baseball).

Biles is a well-known household name and even was recently nicknamed the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) in gymnastics. With a combined 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is tied as the most decorated gymnast of all time. Biles' seven Olympic medals also ties Shannon Miller for most Olympic medals won by an American female gymnast.

Dressel won five gold medals in six events at the 2020 Olympic Games. He is one of just five swimmers to accomplish it at a single Games (Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Matt Biondi, and Kristin Otto). Overall, Dressel is a seven-time Olympic gold medalist and holds world records in the 100 meter butterfly (long course and short course), 50 meter freestyle (short course), and 100 meter individual medley (short course).

“We want to thank everyone for their participation and dedication to the presentation of this award,” said AAU President and CEO Jennings “Rusty” Buchanan. “These athletes symbolize the best of their class across all sports, and I could not be more proud of both our recipients this year. They are the perfect example of what this award represents – character, leadership and citizenship.”

The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding athlete in the United States, including famed Olympians Michelle Kwan (2001), Michael Phelps (2003), Paul Hamm (2004) and Shawn Johnson (2008); University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997), Penn State guard John Urschel (2013); 200m backstroke world record holder Missy Franklin (2012) and University of Oregon standout Sabrina Ionescu (2019).


The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest- non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 41 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts.

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Keri Burns

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