Spain’s visually impaired Alpine Skier Jon Santacana has been voted by the public as the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) ‘Athlete of the Month’ for January 2011 after a record number of votes.
At the IPC 2011 Alpine Skiing World Champioships in Sestriere, Italy, Santacana was the most successful visually impaired athlete winning three gold and two silver medals together with his guide Miguel Galindo.
Due to a genetic disease, Santacana has been visually impaired since he was eight years old and took up Alpine Skiing two years later. At the Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic Winter Games he won gold in the Men’s Giant Slalom, as well as two bronze medals in Men’s Super-G and Downhill.
A record number of people - over 550 - voted for January’s IPC ‘Athlete of the Month’ via the IPC’s official Facebook page www.facebook.com/ParalympicGames
In the most competitive poll yet since the public were invited to choose a monthly winner in October, Santacana secured 31 per cent of the vote to take January’s title.
Due to the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the 2011 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Sestriere, Italy, eight athletes were shortlisted for January’s ‘Athlete of the Month’. They included:
-David Weir (Great Britain) – winner of three Athletics gold medals in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m T54.
-Terezinha Guilhermina (Brazil) – took four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m T11, and Women’s 4x100m T11-13 relay as well as breaking the World records in 100m and 200m
-Michelle Stilwell (Canada) – won three gold medals and set Championship records in the 100m, 200m and 400m T52 and also won silver in the 800m.
-Tatyana McFadden (USA) – Winner of four gold medals in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m T53, as well as bronze in the 100m, and set two Championship records.
-Jerome Singleton (USA) – first man in seven years to beat South African Oscar Pistorius to win 100m T44 gold. Also won two silvers in the 200m and Men’s 4x100m relay T42-46.
-Henrieta Farkasova (Slovakia) – won four gold and one bronze medal in Sestriere
-Vincent Gauthier-Manuel (France) – top medalist in Sestriere with four gold and two silver medals.
The 2010 Athletes of the Month were as follows:
January: Alexi Salamone, Ice Sledge Hockey
February: Mariann Marthinsen, Cross-Country Skiing
March: Canadian Wheelchair Curling Team
April: Sinisa Vidic, Shooting
May: Katrin Green, Athletics
June: Padraic Moran, Boccia
July: Chinese Women's Sitting Volleyball Team
August: Daniel Dias, Swimming
September: US Wheelchair Rugby Team
October: Katrina Hart, Athletics
November: Anna Schaffelhuber, Alpine Skiing
December: Shingo Kunieda, Wheelchair Tennis