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THE GREATEST COMEBACK IN SPORTS HISTORY BEGINS NOW –  Announcing the return of the Hickok Belt™ Award, recognizing the best of the best in professional sports.

ROCHESTER, NY— Once the most coveted honor in American sports, the Hickok Belt™ Award is back, and the countdown begins today to the day when the first Hickok Belt since 1976 will be awarded following the 2012 season, to the best athlete in all of professional sports.

The Hickok Belt defined the careers of Koufax, Hogan, Palmer, Mantle, Ali and 21 other professional sports legends from 1950 to 1976, and beginning in 2012, with the backing of major supporters like the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, it will do the same for today’s greats, and tomorrow’s.

The countdown to the naming of the next Hickok Belt winner began with the recent launch of the award website, HickokBelt.com, and a Kickoff “Comeback” Dinner is slated for October 16th, at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, where the sports world will celebrate the Belt’s rich past and look forward to a renewed legacy.

“For 26 years, from 1950 to 1976, the Hickok Belt was the Crown Jewel of American sports, bigger than any MVP, bigger than a Lombardi, bigger than a World Series ring, bigger than a Green Jacket,” said Tony Liccione, Founder and President of the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame, who has been the driving force behind bringing the Belt back. “In fact, it was bigger than all of them combined, because it honored the best professional athlete across all sports, not just in one.”

“An award like this is special, not only because it recognizes the feats of an athlete amongst his peers in his sport, but also the best of the best in all sports,” said baseball Hall-of-Famer, Fergie Jenkins. “It is something that represents competition at its purest. It’s an award given to the best of the best of the best.  

The winner will be chosen by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Liccione said. Each month, a 20 voter panel, with four members each from North, South, East and West regions, will select a monthly winner. The 12 monthly winners will then comprise the candidates from which the full NSSA membership will select the annual Hickok Belt Award winner each year.

“The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) is excited to be taking part in the rebirth of the Hickok Belt Award,” said Dave Goren, NSSA Executive Director. “We share much of the same history with the Belt and look forward to helping it regain its place among the most prestigious awards recognizing athletic achievement.”

Goren said that the criterion the NSSA will use in selecting award recipients will be the athlete (male or female) who has demonstrated the highest level of personal athletic achievement and represents the "Best of the Best” across all of professional sports.

One exciting feature of the new Hickok Belt website, HickokBelt.com, is an opportunity for sports fans across the country to vote on who they think should have won the Belt each of the last 36 years, had it been awarded Liccione added. The site also features details on past Hickok Belt winners and the rich history of the Belt itself that any professional sports fan who loves sports history and the legends of the games won’t want to miss. 

News Media: For more information, contact Larry Kleehammer at 585-944-3996 or via e-mail at larry@hicokbelt.com