Tennis player Serena Williams has been named the 2013 AP Female Athlete of the Year for the 3rd time in her career, this week, receiving 55 out of 96 votes cast for one of the more prestigious inter-sport awards in the United States. WNBA player Brittney Griner was 2nd with 14 votes, and swimmers Missy Franklin placed 3rd with 10 votes.
Williams compiled 11 tournament titles, going 78-4 overall on the year, winning two Grand Slam championships (French Open and U.S. Open), and earned over $12 million in prize money. After having won the award in 2002 and 2009, only two other women have won the AP Female Athlete of the Year title more than Williams: Babe Dirdikson with 6, and Chris Evert with 4.
Franklin, who finished 2nd in this contest last year to gymnast Gabby Douglas, won 6 World Championships this summer in Barcelona, making her the winningest long course World Champion in women’s swimming history.
Lebron James won the men’s award, with no swimmers receiving a vote. Diana Nyad, Cuba-to-Florida marathon swimmer, also received a single vote in the women’s balloting.. The award has been won by female swimmers 7 times and male swimmers 4 times in its 84-year history, including most recently Michael Phelps in 2008 and 2012.
The award is not exclusively for Americans, but it has only rarely ventured outside of American athletes: usually in sports like women’s tennis or golf, where athletes tend to transcend their nationalities.