The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have announced the 2014-15 finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, which recognise the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes year-round.
Fans are invited to vote for their favourite athletes and teams until 20 November.
The Paralympic portion of the Team USA Awards honour the athletes and teams of the year in three categories:
• Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
• Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year
• Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
Formerly known as the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year awards, the honors began in 1974. The impressive and diverse collection of past winners – from Jessica Long (swimming) and Carl Lewis (track and field) to Bonnie Blair (speedskating) and Michael Phelps (swimming) – represent nearly 30 sports on the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic programmes. Their collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of the US Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout history.
Athletes and teams considered for the Best of the Year were finalists for Best of the Month honours, dating back to the autumn of the previous year and coinciding with the sport calendar. A USOC nominating committee then selected the top-five finalists in the individual categories and top three in the team categories to advance to the voting round.
Online fan voting at TeamUSA.org/Awards accounts for 50 percent of the final tally, while members of the Olympic and Paralympic family – including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists – account for the other 50 percent.
The six award winners will be announced during the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, to be held on 10 December at the University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall in Philadelphia. The awards show will be televised on NBCSN on 27 December from 3-4 pm (ET).
The year-end celebration will also recognise the Building Dreams Award, presented by USG, which honours an individual, group or community that has gone above and beyond in its support of Team USA.
In addition to presenting sponsor Dow, four USOC partners – DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG – are associate sponsors of the Team USA Awards programme.
The 2014-15 Best of the Year finalists include:
Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
Hailey Danisewicz, triathlon
Won gold medals at three ITU World Paratriathlon events and finished second, as part of a Team USA PT2 sweep, at the 2015 World Championships.
Oksana Masters, Nordic skiing, cycling
Won three World Championship medals – two in Nordic skiing and one in cycling – and also claimed the overall IPC Nordic Skiing women’s cross-country sitting world cup title with seven gold medals.
Tatyana McFadden, track and field
Remained undefeated to capture her third straight marathon grand slam, while also winning her first marathon world title and setting three T54 world records.
Becca Meyers, swimming
Won three medals – including two golds – and set three world records at the IPC Swimming World Championships, in which she also set world-leading marks in five events.
Jamie Whitmore, cycling
Swept the time trial and road race gold medals at the road cycling World Championships and won the overall world cup title with nine world cup victories.
Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year
Joe Berenyi, cycling
Won three medals – including two golds – at the track cycling World Championships, and added four medals – including three golds – at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
Declan Farmer, ice sledge hockey
Led Team USA in season scoring, recording the game-winning goal at the 2015 World Championship and tying the US record with six goals in a World Championship tournament.
Mike Shea, snowboarding
Won the men’s SB-LL2 banked slalom world title and three IPC Snowboard World Cup events to end the season ranked No. 1 in the world for both banked slalom and snowboard cross.
Andy Soule, Nordic skiing
Won the most medals ever (five) by a US athlete at the Nordic skiing World Championships and added five World Cup medals to win the overall men’s cross-country sitting World Cup title.
Roderick Townsend, track and field
Won four IPC Athletics World Championship medals in his first year of Paralympic competition, winning gold in the high jump and twice setting world records in his signature event.
Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
W1 men’s team, archery
The team of Jeff Fabry, Chuck Lear and Jerry Shields won Team USA’s first World Championship gold medal in the men’s W1 team event at the 2015 World Championships.
US national team, ice sledge hockey
Went undefeated during the 2014-15 season and defeated Canada, 3-0, to win the 2015 World Championships A-Pool, outscoring its five opponents by a combined 29-1 in the tournament.
US women’s national team, wheelchair basketball
Won the gold medal at the 2015 Parapan Am Games, defeating the reigning world champions and all opponents by an average of 55 points per game to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.