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Olympic Gold Medalist Carissa Moore Wins 92nd AAU James E. Sullivan Award

Honolulu, Hawaii (December 8, 2022) – Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore is the winner of the 92nd AAU James E. Sullivan Award. She’s the first surfer and first Hawaii native to ever take home the prestigious award, which has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding athlete at the collegiate or Olympic level in the United States.

Moore was presented with the AAU Sullivan Award during the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame ceremony in Honolulu, organized by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, on Thursday, December 8.

L – R: Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation Board members Billy Berger and Billy Pratt with AAU President J.B. Mirza, 92nd AAU Sullivan winner Carissa Moore, and 92nd AAU Sullivan Director Denny Lennon

Moore is a five-time World Champion and two-time Triple Crown of Surfing champion but may be best remembered as the first Olympic gold medalist in the women’s short board event at the 2020 Tokyo Games. She was inducted into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame in 2021.

“To the AAU, thank you so much for this incredible honor, she said. “When I first heard I was nominated I was already blown away. Wow this is really cool. I really appreciate it. Thank you.”

The Honolulu, Hawaii native grew up surfing in the same bay as the legendary “father of surfing” Duke Kahanamoku. Duke won the AAU‘s first swim race in Hawaii in 1911, shattering the world record in the 100-yard freestyle. He competed in the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Olympic Games for the AAU; at the time, the AAU organization acted as the governing body of U.S. Olympic athletes.

Moore was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in 2014 and is the first surfer in history to win a World Surf League title and Olympic gold medal in the same year.

“I’m extremely proud of our recipient this year. Carissa Moore is a perfect example of what this award represents – athletic excellence, leadership, character, and sportsmanship, said J.B. (Jo) Mirza, AAU President. She will forever be remembered as the first-ever surfer to win the AAU Sullivan Award, and first from Hawaii, which is a remarkable milestone in the award’s storied history.

Moore joins a renowned list of recipients. Last year, Olympians Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel were crowned co-winners. Other prior winners include Carl Lewis (track and field), Wilma Rudolph (track and field), Bill Bradley (basketball), Mark Spitz (swimming), Bill Walton (basketball), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track and field), Rulon Gardner (wrestling), Michael Phelps (swimming), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Peyton Manning (football), J.J. Redick (basketball), and Tim Tebow (football).

The other finalists for the 92nd AAU James E. Sullivan Award included Jocelyn Alo (softball), Jordan Burroughs (wrestling), Ivan Melendez (baseball), and Bryce Young (football).

The award was presented to Moore at the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame event at the historic Outrigger Canoe Club at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Trophy presentation and acceptance speech (video, photo) available here:

The 49th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships and 56th AAU Junior Olympic Games were both honored by Sports Destination Management

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 2, 2022) — Both the 49th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships and 56th AAU Junior Olympic Games were honored as 2022 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management. 

Sports Destination Management is the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market. 

49th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships

More than 70,000 athletes and coaches, representing 48 states, two U.S. territories, and four international countries converged at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) for the 49th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships this year. 

The 18-day event brought in approximately $228 million in economic impact to Central Florida, with an estimated 178,000 total attendees. Thousands of jobs and the overall local economy is positively lifted by this event annually — from hotels, shops and restaurants to area theme parks and attractions. There were 4,450 teams (678 boys and 3772 girls) participating in 56 divisions. It’s the largest sporting event ever held at the OCCC —breaking last year’s record. 

56th AAU Junior Olympic Games

The AAU Junior Olympic Games is the largest multi-sport event for youth in the United States. This year’s 56th edition, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, brought in nearly 19,000 participants with an estimated economic impact of $65 million. The 56th AAU Junior Olympic Games featured 12 different sports competitions, including AAU’s marquee track and field event at NC A&T’s Marcus T. Johnson Track in Truist Stadium. Track and field, the biggest sport at the Games, saw approximately 14,000 participants.

The AAU is proud to say that both events have received this honor for the past five years. 

All award-winners have been recognized in a special feature published in the November/December 2022 issue of Sports Destination Management. In total, this year’s winners are responsible for contributing more than $2.42 billion to the national economy over the past year. The entire article with full details on the winners listed can be found here

Fun Fact

More than 150 of our AAU Alumni are participating in this year’s Olympic Summer Games! Click here for more info.