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Jordan Burroughs named semifinalist for AAU James E. Sullivan Award as nation’s top amateur athlete

Jordan Burroughs holds up his Olympic gold medal after his victory at 74 kg at the 2012 London Olympics. John Sachs photo

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The semifinalists have been announced for the 83rd AAU Sullivan Award and include Olympic and World champion freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs.

Known as the “Oscar” of sports awards, and older than The Heisman, the AAU James E. Sullivan Award honors an outstanding amateur athlete in the United States each year. It 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 AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character.

Burroughs won the gold medal at 74 kg/163 lbs. in men’s freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. He captured the gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa to earn his trip to London. Over international gold medals in 2012 were the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs, Colo. and the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba.

Past wrestlers who have been Sullivan Award winners are John Smith (1990), Bruce Baumgartner (1995) and Rulon Gardner (2000).

The public will be able to vote for their top amateur athlete from this selection. Voting will be available soon through the AAU Sullivan Website by a third party company in early March. will provide information on how wrestling fans can vote.

In the meantime, meet the 15 semifinalists from 12 sports (as posted on AAU website):

Jordan Burroughs
USA Wrestling

Jordan Burroughs is a decorated athlete in the world of freestyle wrestling. In 2011, he became only the fourth wrestler ever to win an NCAA Championship and World Championship in the same year. Jordan followed up that performance by winning the 74kg title at the Pan American Games and the ultimate prize -- Olympic gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

Darren Barnes
USA Weightlifting

Darren Barnes is a competitive lifter for USA Weightlifting who set six national records at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Most recently, he set two records at the American Open, qualifying him for the 2013 World Junior Championships. While competing competitively, Darren still managed to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA.

David Boudia
USA Diving

USA Diving's Athlete of the Year, David Boudia took home gold in the men's 10-meter platform at the 2012 Olympic Games. He became the first American man to do so since 1992 and the first American man to do so on platform since Greg Louganis in 1988. David also took home Olympic bronze in the synchronized 10-meter event.

Liz Brenner
Oregon Volleyball, Basketball, Softball, Track & Field

A three-sport athlete at the University of Oregon, Liz Brenner became Oregon’s first underclassmen volleyball All-American and helped the Ducks to a NCAA runner up finish this past season. She’s also taking her talents to the hardwood and the track to finish up her sophomore year. As a freshman, Liz was an All-Pac-12 Freshman Team volleyball choice and also played basketball and softball.

Isaiah Canaan
Murray State University Basketball

Isaiah Canaan is the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year. He’s a multiple All-America pick and was named to 12 different preseason award lists, including the John Wooden Award and Naismith Award. In his senior season, Isaiah is closing in on becoming the sixth 2,000-point scorer in Murray State history.

Elena Delle Donne
University of Delaware Women's Basketball

Senior basketball player at the University of Delaware, Elena Delle Donne holds 10 records for the Blue Hens, including first in points with 2,552, eclipsing the previous record by more than 1,000 points. She was named to the preseason Wade National Player of the Year and Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year watch lists. A top recruit coming out of high school, Elena originally committed to play at No. 1 UCONN, but left to move closer to home and help take care of her sister.

Gabrielle Douglas
USA Gymnastics

A member of The Fierce Five that won the Olympic team gold in London, Gabrielle Douglas made history at the 2012 Olympics when she became the first African American to win the women’s all-around Olympic gold. She’s also the first U.S. gymnast to win both the Olympic team and all-around titles at the same Games. Gabrielle was voted the Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year and the Women’s Sports Foundation’s “Sportswoman of the Year” for 2012.

Missy Franklin
USA Swimming

Missy Franklin left the 2012 Olympics as the most decorated female of the Games from any country or in any sport, earning a total of five medals—four gold and one bronze. She broke Olympic and World records in the 100m and 200m back. Outside of the pool, Missy loves to give back to her community. She’s worked with the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, Make-A-Wish Foundation and several others, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Brittney Griner
Baylor University Women's Basketball

Brittney Griner earned every women’s national player of the year honors after leading the Baylor Bears to a 2012 NCAA national championship and an unprecedented 40-0 record, a feat no other basketball team, men’s or women’s, had ever achieved. Awards include the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, and AP Player of the Year. She also received two ESPY’s for Most Outstanding Female and Collegiate Female Athlete.

Steve Johnson
USC Tennis

Steve Johnson is a seven-time tennis All-American, four-time NCAA team champion and back-to-back NCAA singles champion for the USC Trojans. He could’ve turned pro after his junior year, but chose his team over his individual goals. Steve leaves USC with a 72-match win streak, 30 matches more than the previous record holder.

Barrett Jones
University of Alabama Football

Barrett Jones, two-time SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year, helped lead Alabama to three BCS National Championships all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. He's the only player in college football history to win the Rimington Trophy (award for nation's top center) and the Outland Trophy (2011) at two different positions or in two different years. Within four years, Barrett obtained both his bachelor's and master's degrees and became Alabama's first ever four-time Academic All-American.

Claressa Shields
USA Boxing

Seventeen-year-old Claressa Shields claimed the gold medal in the middleweight division at the 2012 Olympics' inaugural event. She became the second-youngest fighter, man or woman, to win gold. Claressa was the lone American fighter to reach a gold-medal match in London.

Maggie Steffens
USA Water Polo

Named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Olympics for water polo, Maggie Steffens led the U.S. women’s water polo team to an Olympic gold medal. She tied an Olympic record with seven goals scored in her first game as an Olympian, and went on to score a record 21 goals at the Games. Maggie capped off the year being named top female water polo player of 2012 by FINA, the international governing body for aquatics.

Breanna Stewart
USA Basketball, UCONN Women's Basketball

Named the Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year, Breanna Stewart is currently a top-three scorer for the UCONN Huskies as a freshman. She took home a team gold and MVP honors at 2012 FIBA World Championships this past summer with the 18u National Team. In 2011, she became just the second high school girls basketball player to represent USA in the Pan American Games.

Mike Zunino
University of Florida Baseball

Drafted third overall in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft by the Seattle Mariners, Mike Zunino is the highest selection in Florida Gator history. He's the first Gator to take home the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy, Johnny Bench Award and Baseball America's College Player of the Year accolade. In his senior season, Mike led the Gator's in batting average (.322), RBI (67) and home runs (19).

FOLLOW the AAU on Twitter at @TheRealAAU and like them on Facebook to know when voting opens. Use hashtag #AAUSullivanAward when tweeting and instagramming. - See more at:
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