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article imageAP names Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson 'Male Athlete of the Year'

By Michael Bearak     Dec 22, 2009 in Sports
The Associated Press named its "Male Athlete of the Year" for 2009, and for the first time in the 78-year history of the award, it went to a NASCAR driver.
Jimmie Johnson was named "Male Athlete of the Year" by the Associated Press after winning his 4th consecutive Nextel Cup Championship.
It was the first time in the 78-year history of the award that it has gone to a NASCAR driver.
One of the main arguments in the past is that race car drivers, much like horse jockeys, sometimes are not considered "athletes" because some people argue the car does most of the work. Those critics do not take into account the skill needed to guide a car at high-speeds past other cars, while balancing, timing and hitting very small gaps while passing.
This year, Jimmie Johnson won four straight titles.
There were a number of other athletes who were voted on by the panel. Others receiving consideration where Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and Albert Pujols.
Federer, who was second with 30 votes, and Bolt third with 29, were the only two others who had double-digit votes. Johnson obtained 42 votes to win the award.
According to ESPN, Johnson is very confident they will continue their run of success, as he is under contract until 2015.
"We'd been wondering the last few years, 'When is this going to hit?' " Johnson said. "It seems like the answer is now. The wave is finally peaking, and we don't know where it's going to take us. The fourth-straight title takes it out of our sport and makes it a point of discussion -- like, 'Wow, a race car driver won this thing.' "
More about Associated press, Male athlete year, Jimmine johnson, Nascar, Driver
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