COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Top performances throughout March boosted alpine skier Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.) and gymnast Chris Brooks (Houston, Texas) to Athlete of the Month recognition, while the world champion U.S. Men's National Sled Hockey Team received Team of the Month honors, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced today.
In the final and most exhausting month of the season, Vonn won a world cup giant slalom event to lock a record fourth overall title five races before the end of the season. Once her weakest discipline, it was her second giant slalom win of 2011-12 and bumped her season win total to 12 for the most single-season wins in American history. In the final five races, Vonn also clinched her fourth straight world cup super G title to bring her career title total to a record 16. Vonn closed the season with a world cup record 1,980 points, surpassing the mark of 1,970 set in 2006.
On the first night of competition at the 2012 Kellogg's Pacific Rim Championships in Everett, Wash., Brooks earned the senior all-around title, posting 88.700 to help capture the team gold with a score of 352.050. Recognized as one of the sport's premier international events, Brooks continued his domination at the Pac Rim event finals, gaining the gold medal on both still rings (15.075) and horizontal bar (15.450). Brooks also earned the silver medal on pommel horse (14.700).
The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team won the gold medal at the 2012 International Paralympic Committee Sledge Hockey World Championship in Norway, becoming the first sled team to win back-to-back world titles. After opening preliminary-round play with a shootout win and a shootout loss, Team USA rattled off three straight wins en route to its second straight gold medal at the tournament. In a 2-1 victory over Canada in the semifinals, goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) made 15 saves, several of which came in the final minutes of action. Forward Taylor Lipsett (Richardson, Texas) tallied three goals and added an assist as Team USA defeated Korea, 5-1, to secure the gold medal. Forward Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.), defenseman Taylor Chace (Hampton Falls, N.H) and Cash were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.
Track & field's Brittney Reese (Gulfport, Miss.) finished runner-up in the Female Athlete of the Month vote, while swimming's Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.) placed third. Heptathlete Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Ore.) and BMXer Connor Fields (Henderson, Nev.) finished second and third in the Male Athlete of the Month competition. In the team vote, figure skating duo Meryl Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich.) and Charlie White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) took second, while the U.S. Men's National Water Polo Team rounded out the top three.
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. A voting panel selects the winners from the pool of nominees with online fan voting via Twitter accounting for 10 percent of the total vote.
1. Lindsey Vonn, Skiing
2. Brittney Reese, Track & Field
3. Caitlin Leverenz, Swimming
1. Chris Brooks, Gymnastics
2. Ashton Eaton, Track & Field
3. Connor Fields, Cycling
1. U.S. Men's National Team, Sled Hockey
2. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Figure Skating
3. U.S. Men's National Team, Water Polo