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Caitlin Clark named Sullivan Award winner as top collegiate athlete

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Caitlin Clark is the top athlete in college sports, winning the 93rd AAU James E. Sullivan Award on Tuesday night.

The Sullivan Award is given to the nation’s top collegiate or Olympic athlete. Voting is done by the public with additional consideration of the winner done by the AAU Sullivan Award committee, the AAU board of directors, members of sports media and past winners.

Clark joins wrestler Spencer Lee (2019) as the only University of Iowa athletes to win the award. She beat out UCLA and Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and NCAA champion and Olympic swimmer Kate Douglass for the award.

On top of athletic accomplishment, the award also recognizes leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship both in and out of athletic competition.

“I am incredibly humbled,” Clark said. “It is an honor to be selected for this prestigious award that elects a student-athlete that excels on the court and off. All the finalists are equally as deserving. It is special to represent the University of Iowa on this stage.”

She also shouted out her father during the award ceremony, which took place at the New York Athletic Club. Clark’s father was her first AAU basketball coach, with Clark saying that winning the award is a “full-circle moment.”

“I grew up playing a lot of AAU sports,” she said. “I did it all. I actually grew up playing with the boys. That’s all I knew until I was in about fourth grade. So I give that a lot of credit for the person I am today but also the player, [it] kind of pushed me and made me maybe a little too feisty if you’ve ever watched me. I love [my parents] and they’ve been my rock.

“The reason I went to Iowa was to be able to do something different and take them to a place they really hadn’t been. We’ve been to one Final Four, we’d never been to the national championship game. Our state and really our entire country has really rallied around not only women’s basketball but women’s sports in general. It’s been really incredible to see that and I hope I can continue to push women’s sports forward and be an advocate.”