Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was named The Associated Press male athlete of the year, beating LeBron James to win the award for the second time. Phelps had another amazing Olympics, with four gold medals and two silvers at the London Games. He was also recognized for having one of the greatest careers in any sport.
Phelps finished with 40 votes in balloting by U.S. editors and broadcasters. James was next with 37. Track star Usain Bolt was third with 23. (Track and Field legend Carl Lewis is the only other Olympic-related star to be named AP male athlete of the year more than once. He took the award in 1983 and ’84.)
The only men honored more than twice are Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong at four times each. Michael Jordan won three times.
** Phelps retired at age 27 as soon as he finished his final race in London. He won more gold medals (18) and overall medals (22) than any other Olympian.