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Caitlin Clark becomes 1st two-time winner of Sullivan Award as nation’s top college athlete

NEW YORK (AP) — Caitlin Clark is still picking up trophies.

The Iowa basketball star who was recently the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft won the James E. Sullivan Award for the second straight year Tuesday night.

Clark is the first two-time winner in the award’s 94-year history. It goes to the nation’s most outstanding athlete at the college or Olympic level. Her high school coach, Kristin Meyer, accepted the award on her behalf at the New York Athletic Club. Clark gave her acceptance speech via Zoom.

Voting by the public, the AAU Sullivan Award committee, AAU board of directors, sports media and previous winners decided the winner.

The other finalists were Olympic wrestler David Taylor, Olympic speed skater Emery Lehman, gymnast Frederick Richard, Texas volleyball player Madisen Skinner and Paralympic swimmer Noah Jaffe.

The award also honors leadership, citizenship, character and sportsmanship on and off the playing field.

“The AAU Sullivan Award is an incredible honor,” Clark said via Zoom. “I have been inspired by so many athletes that came before me and I hope I can be that same inspiration for the next generation to follow their dreams.”

She’s been the main driver for the dramatic uptick in women’s basketball interest with her mix of deep 3-point shots, flashy thread-the-needle passes and overall court presence. A women’s basketball-record 18.9 million viewers watched Iowa’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA title game, and a WNBA-record 2.45 million watched the draft.

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