Lysacek honored with Sullivan Award
|Evan Lysacek with Sarah Hughes at the Sullivan Award ceremony in one of his sharp suits. (Lois Elfman)|
By U.S. Figure Skating
(03/15/2011) - Colorado Springs, Colo. - The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced Monday that 2010 Olympic champion Evan Lysacek has been awarded the 2010 AAU James E. Sullivan Award. The honor is given annually to the top U.S. amateur athlete. The award was presented to Lysacek tonight at a banquet at the New York Athletic Club in New York City. "It's humbling to see my name amongst those on the impressive list of past Sullivan Award winners, especially Sarah Hughes who has always inspired me in my own skating," Lysacek said. "I'm honored to receive this distinction and would like to thank the AAU for selecting me for this award." Lysacek is the 81st recipient of the award. Past figure skating winners include Dick Button (1949), Michelle Kwan (2001) and Sarah Hughes (2002). "U.S. Figure Skating is thrilled that Evan has been honored with this year's Sullivan Award," said David Raith, executive director of U.S. Figure Skating. "He is not only an outstanding athlete, but his exemplary character fully represents the spirit of the award." The other Sullivan Award finalists were water skier Regina Jaquess, University of Nevada women's basketball player Tahnee Robinson, University of Arkansas football player DJ Williams and baton twirler Karrissa Wimberley. During the 2009-10 season, Lysacek brought home silver from the Cup of China and won gold at Skate America, becoming the first American man to accomplish the latter since Michael Weiss in 2003. Lysacek finished the Grand Prix season by topping the podium at the ISU Grand of Figure Skating Prix Final, joining Jeremy Abbott as the only U.S. men to claim the title at that event. His silver-medal win at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships helped earn him a berth to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he captured the gold. By doing so, Lysacek became the first American man since Brian Boitano (1988) to win men's Olympic gold, defeating reigning champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia in the process. A native of Naperville, Ill., Lysacek was voted the U.S. Olympic Committee SportsMan of the Year in January. He is only the second figure skater to win the award, joining Scott Hamilton (1981). In addition to his on-ice exploits, Lysacek supports numerous charitable causes, including Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Figure Skating in Harlem. Most recently, he served as the spokesperson for the cinematic feature RISE. The Sullivan Award has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism, the Sullivan Award in addition honors those who have shown strong moral character. The winner of the Sullivan Award was determined by a combination of online voting on USAToday.com and ballots filled out by national governing bodies and Division I sports information directors.