Christine Peng-Peng Lee, a sixth-year senior from UCLA, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Gymnastics as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 42 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Lee becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2018 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 25, 2018, in downtown Los Angeles.
Lee was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Sarah Finnegan (LSU), Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) and Elizabeth Price (Stanford).
"I am extremely honored to be chosen as the winner for the sport of gymnastics. This award is as much my teammates’ as it is mine,“ said Lee. “I have been here for six years, and I have never experienced a team like this one. They have all made such a positive impact in my life, and the bond we have created is what made all of our success this year possible."
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Lee led UCLA to the 2018 NCAA Championship title in a come-from-behind victory after needing a 9.975 on beam in the final routine and scoring a perfect 10 to secure the victory. She finished the Championship with two perfect 10s and captured the National Championship on the balance beam. She is a nine-time All-American and was named the 2018 Pac-12 Gymnastics Scholar Athlete of the Year.
She finished the season with seven perfect 10s (five on balance beam and two on uneven bars) and ended her career with 10 perfect 10s overall, which is third-most in UCLA history. Lee set a Pac-12 record with nine career Specialist of the Week awards, including five in 2018.
“Peng-Peng Lee is a pure example of how to live life with positivity and appreciation,” said head coach Valorie Kondos Field. “The injuries that resulted in her redshirting her first two years in college were severe and required lengthy recovery. Through it all, she maintained the same zest for life that we saw in her performances, and it is so gratifying to see her being honored for all that she has brought to the sport of gymnastics.”
“Peng-Peng Lee’s six years at UCLA have been defined by perseverance through hardship, grace under pressure, positive leadership and exuberance for the sport of gymnastics,“ explained UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero. “She is always there when her team needs her; she embodies what it means to be a Bruin, and I can’t think of a more deserving winner of the Honda Sports Award.”
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 42nd year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.