Schwartz: 10 Sentences – The Immortal Spencer Lee Edition

May 3, 2020

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

Good news keeps rolling in for Iowa athletics. This week let’s use 10 sentences to discuss a Hawkeye who just earned a historic honor.

1. Last week Iowa wrestler Spencer Lee earned the James E. Sullivan Award from the American Athletic Union (AAU), one of the oldest and most prestigious sports organizations in the United States.

2. It was a pretty cool honor for two reasons: One, he got to share the award with Oregon women’s basketball player Sabrina Ionescu, who along with Megan Gustafson is one of the most decorated college basketball players in the country over the last few years.

3. Two, the Sullivan Award is given annually to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States, which put another way means that the AAU didn’t just determine that Lee and Ionescu were the best in their sports – they were the best in all of sports.

4. This is such an incredible honor for Lee that we can momentarily forget – or ignore – how adorable it is that there are still people who consider the amateur-professional athlete debate somehow on par with God vs Satan, as if earning money based on your talent and skill somehow diminishes that talent and skill.

5. Instead, it appears that the Hawkeyes once again have a legend in their midst, someone – like Gustafson two seasons ago – who reminds us how important it is to appreciate what we have when it’s right in front of us before it’s too late.

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

6. The Sullivan Award isn’t a participation trophy – it’s not something given out to whomever promises to show up at the awards ceremony; it’s been given to some of the greatest American athletes of their generations, athletes such as track and field’s Jackie Joyner-Kersee, golf’s Bobby Jones, swimming’s Michael Phelps, basketball’s Bill Walton, track and field’s Wilma Rudolph, and figure skating’s Michelle Kwan.

7. That’s quite the list, one that now includes Lee’s name, a list that also includes Peyton Manning, Shawn Johnson, Carl Lewis, Bruce Jenner, Missy Franklin, and Bill Bradley.

Continue reading below

8. The COVID-19 pandemic robbed Lee in March of an opportunity to win his third NCAA wrestling championship in three seasons, although with 1.1 million Americans infected to date and more than 66,000 dead, whether or not Lee won a third title or Ionescu led Oregon to a championship or LeBron won his fourth title hardly compares.

9. But that’s not the point of this column; the point of this column is, as before with Gustafson, we are with Lee in the midst of one of the all-time great Hawkeye careers, and who knows, if all goes well enough we’ll get to watch him next season try to put together a senior campaign for the ages.

Continue reading below

10. Even more stunning is that we’re talking about one of the potentially greatest Hawkeyes ever in a sport – wrestling – that Iowa has dominated like no other; trying to figure out the greatest Hawkeye wrestlers is like trying to put together an all-time starting five for the Celtics and Lakers or the all-time starting lineup for the Yankees, yet here we are with Lee, and while nothing is for certain, and conversations like these are mostly for fun and impossible to win, it’s a pretty good bet that Lee will be one of those Iowa wrestlers we never forget.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye Nation

Joey Labas Comfortable with Iowa Football Commitment After Unusual Recruitment

Rob Howe

July 8, 2020

Ohio quarterback not joining Hawkeyes with being a backup on his mind.

Hawkeye Nation

HN Mailbag Podcast: Iowa Football, Hoops Recruiting, Investigation, COVID

Rob Howe

July 8, 2020

Answering your questions from message boards, Twitter and Facebook.

Hawkeye Nation

HN Podcast: COVID Concerns, Iowa Football Investigation, Analyzing Schedule

Rob Howe

July 7, 2020

Discussion the latest happenings in Hawkeye Athletics.

Hawkeye Nation

Howe: Ranking Excitement Level of 2020 Iowa Football Games

Rob Howe

July 6, 2020

Rating interest level of contests on schedule from 12 to 1.

Hawkeye Nation

Schwartz: 10 Sentences – Luka Garza’s Big Decision Edition

David Schwartz

July 5, 2020

Iowa Basketball center, reigning B1G Player of the Year still weighing options.

Hawkeye Nation

Howe: Focus Should Be on Hearing the Accounts of Former Hawkeyes

Rob Howe

July 3, 2020

These former Iowa Football student-athletes would like you to listen.

Hawkeye Nation

HN Podcast: Quinn Early on Kirk Ferentz, Hayden Fry, Racism

Rob Howe

July 2, 2020

Former Iowa Football, NFL receiver joins show to talk about time with the Hawkeyes, being Black in America and more.

Hawkeye Nation

HN Prospect Podcast: Arland Bruce IV Talks Iowa Culture, KC BBQ

Rob Howe

July 1, 2020

Class of ’21 WR discusses Tyrone Tracy comparison, ideas on helping Hawkeyes create more inclusive culture.

TOP