The Women’s Sports Foundation has announced the candidates up for their annual ‘Individual’ and ‘Team’ Sports Woman of the Year awards. The foundation annually recognizes extraordinary women athletes both in an individual sport, as well as a team sport. This year, two females associated with the aquatics world are in the running for the honor.
Paralympic swimmer, Jessica Long, is among the athletes up for the individual award, based on her world number one ranking across nine disciplines as of July 2015, including the S8 class 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle event. Long brought home four gold medals at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships after having already racked up five gold medals at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships.
For the team sports award, water polo player Maggie Steffens is on the ballot. Steffens is on the U.S. Senior Women’s National Team, which earned the 2015 Pan American Championships title, as well as a gold medal at the 2015 FINA World League Super Final.
The Women’s Sports Foundation was founded in 1974 by tennis player Billie Jean King. According to the organization’s website, its mission is to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. The foundation provides scholarships and grants to aspiring athletes, and uses the awards as a platform to highlight those women athletes whose performances over the past year have been ‘truly exceptional.’
Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin won the award in 2003 and Missy Franklin was among those nominated in 2012. This year’s awards ceremony is being held on October 20th, with the winners being decided via 50-50 joint voting between the foundation’s awards committee and the public. You can cast your vote here.