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Monday, March 7, 2005
Phelps won last year's Sullivan

Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps, Carly Patterson and Paul Hamm, and Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart were among the 10 finalists announced Monday for the Sullivan Award, given to the nation's top amateur athlete.

Phelps, last year's Sullivan winner, captured six golds and two bronzes at the Athens Olympics, matching the record for most medals won at a single games. He was honored as the U.S. Olympic Committee's Sportsman of the Year last month.

Patterson, of Allen, Texas, was the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic all-around title since Mary Lou Retton. She also won silver medals in the team competition and on the balance beam, and was the USOC's SportsWoman of the Year.

Hamm, the defending world champion, was the first U.S. man to win the Olympic all-around. Leinart led Southern California to an undefeated season and its second straight national title.

Another finalist was Baylor track star Jeremy Wariner, from Grand Prairie, Texas. He won gold in the 400-meter race and 1,600-meter relay event.

Other finalists are: Elisha Au (karate); Natalie Coughlin (swimming); Steven Lopez (taekwondo); Cael Sanderson (wrestling); and Andre Ward (boxing). Online voting on the USA Today Web site will help determine the winner, who will be announced April 13 in New York.

The award is named after James E. Sullivan, the founder of the Amateur Athletic Union based in Orlando, and has been presented annually since 1930.