Rulon Gardner, whose dramatic victory in Greco-Roman wrestling was a highlight of the Sydney Olympics, won the James E. Sullivan Award on Monday.
The award is presented by the Amateur Athletic Union to the nation's outstanding amateur athlete.
Gardner won the Olympic gold medal by defeating Aleksandr Karelin in the final, the Russian's first loss in 13 years.
The wrestler from Afton, Wyo., was chosen by the U.S. team to carry the American flag at the closing ceremonies in Sydney.
Wrestling in the 286-pound class, Gardner won five matches and led the U.S. to a third-place finish at the Olympics, its highest ever.
During 2000, he won four other competitions, including the Pan American championship, and had a 24-2 record.
Gardner becomes the third wrestler to win the Sullivan Award, joining freestyle stars John Smith in 1990 and Bruce Baumgartner in 1995.