Gymnast Gabby Douglas Tops Franklin, Long for Sportswoman of the Year Award

The only woman whose Olympic star shone as brightly as that of 5-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin at the Olympics upended the three aquatics nominees for the Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year award.

Douglas won two golds at the 2012 Summer Olympics: one as a part of the women’s gymnastics team, and one as the all-around champion. Her individual title was considered to be a huge upset, as she became the first woman to win the all-around title without taking a single medal in an individual discipline.

Aside from Franklin, Paralympic  ChampionJessica Long was also nominated in the individual sport category, and water polo player Maggie Steffens was nominated for the team sport category.

The award, which was voted on by fans, has gone to swimmers four times in history: Amy van Dyken (1996), Jenny Thompson (2000), Natalie Coughlin (2003), and paralympian Erin Popovich (2005).

The award was announced tonight in a ceremony in New York City. The team sports Woman of the Year award went to American soccer player Alex Morgan, who spurred Team USA to Olympic gold.

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bobo gigi
10 years ago

Stupid racial comments! I’m not american but I know gymnastics is well promoted during the olympic games on NBC and many people like this sport. Gabby Douglas wasn’t seen at the beginning of the year as a future olympic champion in the best competition on gymnastics, the all-around. And she has surprised, has incredibly improved and has produced a big performance in London. This title is well deserved for her but Missy would have deserved it too like Allyson Felix or Lindsey Vonn. You have incredible women champions in USA and it’s useless to compare the sports. Congrats to them for their accomplishments.

Reply to  bobo gigi
10 years ago

Apparently American swim fans are a very biased bunch. There are other great hard working non-swimming athletes out there people! Both Douglas and Franklin are deserving. It’s not surprising if it’s awarded based on popular vote. Does anyone need to be reminded how hugely popular gymnastics is in the U.S. and has been for decades. Congrats Gabby!!!

10 years ago

Gabby is certainly deserving of it, but I have to say NBC gave her much more air time than anybody else and that’s probably why she won. Average career of a female gymnast is one Olympics and over. I can’t see Gabby being another Boginskaya. Missy could possibly dominate two more Olympics.

10 years ago

Take the long view, Missy is here for the next 2-3 Olympic cycles, while Gabby is about 6 months from being Kerri Strug.

10 years ago

They are both deserving. They are both phenomenal. I wish swimmers won more of or all the awards too. Also, these are awards–name any award show where the person “you” think is most deserving actually wins. Congrats to Missy for being in the mix and I’m sure she’ll win many more awards in the future.

Philip Johnson
10 years ago

even from an impartial perspective, if you compare the two athletes on paper, i’m not seeing how Douglas tops Franklin.

Swimmer 2
Reply to  Philip Johnson
10 years ago

Race has a lot to do with it. Seriously, though…

Reply to  Swimmer 2
10 years ago

That’s pretty ignorant… The award is voted on by the people, and last I checked, Whites greatly outnumbered Blacks in America…

Swimmer 2
Reply to  Vita Owner
10 years ago

Not ignorant at all. Her being the first African-American woman (or first woman of color from any country) to win a gymnastics all-around gold was highly publicized. In my opinion, it’s a shame that we’re still keeping track of these sorts of things, but it still weighs heavily in the public eye.

boo hiss
10 years ago


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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