Written by Sharon Robb
November 19, 2012
Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin, household names in swimming, took home the biggest honors Monday night at the Golden Goggles, USA Swimming’s version of the Academy Awards, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.
Phelps was named Male Athlete of the Year, finishing ahead of Ryan Lochte, Nathan Adrian and Matt Grevers in the voting. Phelps finished with 22 career Olympic medals including 18 gold medals. Donald Trump and Gary Hall Jr. presented Phelps his award.
“This Olympics was the best Olympics I have ever been a part of,” said Phelps, who credited his mother and sisters for their support throughout his career.
Franklin was named Female Athlete of the Year. The 17-year-old four-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder was an overwhelming choice.
“This summer was unbelievable, the team I was a part of was amazing and I learned so much from them,” Franklin said. “I have so much to be thankful for.”
Teenager Katie Ledecky won the Female Race of the Year award for her American record performance in the 800-meter freestyle. She was presented her award by five-time Olympian Dara Torres, who now lives in Boston, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Joked one Twitter follower, “The best part about Dara Torres giving an award to Katie Ledecky is that they’ll both be swimming in 2032.”
Ledecky told the audience, “All of you inspired me. I was lucky to have my race come later in the week so I was very motivated watching everyone race and getting to know the U.S. coaches. Watching that video of the Olympics gave me chills.”
Ledecky picked up her second Golden Goggle with the Breakout Performer of the Year award. Amazingly, a year before the Olympics Ledecky didn’t have a U.S. trial cut.
“When I think about this award I think back to my first race when I was 6 years old swimming in my summer league,” Ledecky said. “I remember stopping every two seconds to grab the lane line and it was a contest between my teammate who stopped the least.”
Nathan Adrian won the Male Race of the Year for his 100-meter freestyle gold medal-winning swim and was presented his award by Olympian Tiffany Cohen of Fort Lauderdale and U.S. soccer player Alex Morgan. Cohen pointed out that Ryan Lochte was born on the day she won her second Olympic gold medal in the 800 freestyle.
Jessica Hardy won the Perseverance Award. “Just to be in the Olympics was a dream come true,” a teary-eyed Hardy said.
Cancer survivor Eric Shanteau won the Athlete Humanitarian Award. “Four years ago when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer I didn’t know what my future would hold. To be able to come back and make another Olympic team and win an Olympic gold medal was a dream come true. It takes more than an individual to win a gold medal or to be able to give back.”
Bob Bowman, coach of 2012 Olympians Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt, was named Coach of the Year Award. “Schmitt was the perfect example of what happens when you work hard and believe,” Bowman said. “Michael it’s been a privilege to be your coach. It’s good to be your coach but it’s even better to be your friend.”
The Golden Goggles Relay Award went to the world record women’s 4×100-meter medley relay winners of Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt.
According to host and television commentator Bob Costas, the balloting for the awards were the closest in the six-year history of the awards ceremony.
With Call Me Maybe playing in the background, the U.S. Olympic team was announced before the ceremony. The funniest entrance was the chest bump between University of Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel and Ricky Berens.
In his monologue, Costas announced that the Olympic team’s Call Me Maybe Video has reached 16 million hits.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com