Traditions

    USC's Sullivan Award Winners

    The James E. Sullivan Award is presented annually by the Amateur Athletic Union to America's top amateur athlete. USC has had four recipients:

    Sammy Lee (1952)
    Sammy Lee, the son of Korean immigrant parents, won a gold medal in platform diving and a bronze in the 3-meter springboard event at the 1948 Olympics. In 1952 Olympics, he repeated as the gold medal winner in the platform, marking the first time in history that a male diver won back-to-back golds. He won the Sullivan Award in 1952. He earned a doctor of medicine degree from USC in 1947 and became an otolaryngologist. He also spent more than 30 years as a U.S. women's Olympic diving coach, a U.S. military diving coach and a U.S. diving judge, as well as serving on various presidential councils and commissions on physical fitness, sports and the Olympics.

    Parry O'Brien (1959)
    The world's first 60-foot shot putter, Parry O'Brien competed for USC from 1951-53. He was the NCAA shot put champion in 1952 and 1953. He won 18 national indoor and outdoor shot put titles, and he established world records 13 times. He graduated from USC in 1954. O'Brien competed in four Olympics, winning two gold medals and one silver. A member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, he was the 1959 Sullivan Award winner. He also served as a member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and a member of the President's Council on the Physical Fitness. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

    John Naber (1977)
    John Naber is USC's most highly-decorated swimmer. He won 10 NCAA individual titles (second most in collegiate history) as a backstroker, freestyler and relay team member. USC won 4 NCAA team championships during his career. He also was the swimming star of the 1976 Olympics, taking home 4 gold medals and a silver while setting 4 world records. He won the 1977 Sullivan Award as America's top amateur athlete. He was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984. Naber, also an outstanding student, was the recipient of an NCAA Today's Top Six Award in 1977. He now is a motivational speaker and television commentator. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

    Janet Evans (1989)
    The greatest female distance swimmer of all time, Janet Evans is a four-time Olympic gold medalist and one-time silver medalist who competed for the United States at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics. A volunteer coach at USC (1993-96) who received her degree in communications from the school in 1994, she was the first American woman to win four individual Olympic gold medals in swimming, including three in 1988. She won three World Championship gold medals and one silver medal during her career and still owns three world records and six American records. She was the 1989 Sullivan Award winner and won the USOC Sportswoman of the Year the same year. She was the USS Swimmer of the Year in 1987 and 1988. She won 45 career national titles and 21 international titles. She is a member of U.S. Swimming's Team of the Century.