Gymnast chosen as top amateur athlete

April 16, 2009 at 7:36 AM
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NEW YORK, April 16 (UPI) -- Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson has won the AAU's Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

Johnson won the gold in the balance beam competition and three silver medals (team, all-around, floor exercise) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She joins Kurt Thomas (1979) and Paul Hamm (2004) as the only gymnasts to win the award.

"This is an incredible honor for Shawn and it recognizes her outstanding gymnastics accomplishments, as well as her character both on and off the field of play," said Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics president.

Other finalists for the Sullivan Award were gymnast Nastia Liukin, the U.S. Olympic men's 4x100m free relay swim team, Stanford volleyball player Cynthia Barboza and North Carolina basketball player Tyler Hansbrough.

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