For the second time in two days, an American swimmer has finished second in the Associated Press’s Athlete of the Year voting, with Michael Phelps falling 8 votes shy of basketballer Lebron James.
On Monday, the AP announced that gymnast Simone Biles had won the Female Athlete of the Year award, with Katie Ledecky finishing second. On Tuesday, the AP revealed its Male Athlete of the Year – James, the NBA star who brought the first major sports title to his hometown of Cleveland since 1964. James becomes the second NBA player ever to win this award twice, joining Michael Jordan.
Phelps finished just 8 votes back, with James getting 24 votes and Phelps 16. The award is voted on by 59 editors from AP member newspapers. Phelps is already a two-time winner of the award – in fact, this is the first Olympic year since 2004 in which Phelps wasn’t honored with the award. He won in both 2008 and 2012.
Others receiving votes were Jamaican track star Usain Bolt, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, NBA player Stephen Curry, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, NFL player Von Miller and tennis player Andy Murray.
The AP Athlete of the Year award hasn’t often gone to a swimmer. Here’s a list of all previous swimmers to win the award, dating back to its inception in 1931: