Los Angeles -Last year, Los Angeles Dodgers pitched Clayton Kershaw dominated the competition. It’s fair to conclude with 21 victories and 248 strikeouts, Kershaw set the baseball world abuzz at the ripe age of 23 with his dream-like season.
He walked away with the National League Cy Young award after his standout performance during the 2011 Major League baseball season. Now Kershaw has another accolade to add to his honor shelf after being bestowed with the “2011 Sportsman of the Year” award at the seventh annual Los Angeles Sports Awards.
Sponsored by the Los Angeles Sports Council and presented by AT&T U-verse, the Los Angeles Sports Awards highlights individual and team greatness in sports in and around Southern California. Besides Kershaw, those honored at the Club Nokia at L.A. Live event in downtown Los Angeles, include USC football coach Lane Kiffin, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno, world champion track star Carmelita Jeter and the late Chuck Miller.
Kiffin, resurrecting the USC football program back into national title contenders, was presented with the “Coach of the Year” award. Moreno was feted with the “Sports Executive of the Year” honor. Miller, Chairman and CEO of Avery Dennison, was the first recipient of the new John C. Argue Award, given in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the business of sports in the Los Angeles area.
The Huntington Beach Little League team, which defeated Japan, 2-1, in the Little League World Series, was honored as well. The L.A. Galaxy which won captured the MLS Cup after defeating Houston in the championship game was voted as the Top Los Angeles Sports Moment in 2011.
But the big draw of the night was Kershaw, and Jeter, who won the world championships in the 100 meters last year, laying claim to the World’s Fastest Woman” mantle. Kershaw called being named sportsman of the year, “humbling.”
“It’s an awesome award,” Kershaw said.
Kerhsaw said his approach going into the 2012 season is to put his focus on the team winning, not on his individual accomplishments.
“I’m not worried about my individual stats or anything like that,” Kershaw said. “I’m worried about winning. All of that other stuff, I’m not worried about repeating or comparing to last year. It’s about winning games, making the playoffs. That’s our team’s focus. That’s all I am focused on right now. I’m excited to get it going. Spring training was fun to get to see your teammates. But right now we’re getting that itch for the season to start. We’re ready to go.”
Jeter, who owns the second-fastest mark ever recorded by a woman in the 100 meters in a blistering time of 10.64 seconds, will be looking to stamp her name in Olympic lore with a dominating and gold medal performance at the London Olympics later this summer. A Los Angeles native, and former Cal State Dominguez standout, Jeter said she was pumped about the getting the award as sportswoman of the year.
“I’m very excited about it,” Jeter said. “When I first learned that I received this award, I was excited that I was getting an award from the city of Los Angeles, being that I’m from LA. It’s a great accomplishment to get an award from where you’re from. I’m pretty excited about it.”