As the only American Indian in the running for the Sullivan Award, Tahnee Robinson can feel very good about how close she came to the coveted Sullivan Award, a University of Nevada press release reported. However, the honor was bestowed on Olympic gold Medalist Evan Lysacek, who won the 2010 Sullivan Award in a ceremony held at the New York Athletic Club Monday. As a senior captain for the University of Nevada women’s basketball team, Tahnee Robinson made the cut to the five finalists, and was in New York for the presentation. The prestigious award is given annually to the nation’s top amateur athlete, and features such past winners at gymnast Sean Johnson, quarterback Tim Tebow, basketball player J.J. Redick and swimmer Michael Phelps.
The Sullivan Award is often called the "Oscar" of sports awards, and is older than The Heisman. The Amateur Athletic Union’s Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States and has been presented every year since 1930. It's named after the founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan.
Robinson was first selected as one of the 12 semifinalists, and ascended to the top five after a vote by national athletic organizations as well as an online poll conducted by the USA Today. Robinson and Lysacek were jioned as finalists with water skier Regina Jaquess, Arkansas football player DJ Williams and baton twirler Karissa Wimberley.