Although much of the attention this past year has been on winter athletes gearing up to compete in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, that has not meant that Team USA’s summer sport athletes have been taking a breather this year.
Team USA athletes made impressive showings in the pool, on the tennis courts and on the track in 2013.
Here’s a look at some of those performances and news from the summer sports this past year:
The U.S. men’s recurve team won its first world title in 30 years, a major victory for a team that hadstruggled since taking the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The team featured Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Joe Franchin. The 214-211 victory over a strong team from the Netherlands was the culmination of a grueling week of ups and downs at the world championships in Turkey.
Khatuna Lorig, a five-time Olympian better known these days as the archery instructor for Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games” movies, earned a silver medal along with Brady Ellison in the recurve mixed team event at the world championships in Turkey in October.
The United States earned the silver medal in the women’s compound open competition, losing to defending champion Russia, at the 2013 World Para-Archery Championships in November in Bangkok.
The USA Badminton team captured the silver medal at the 2013 Pan American Badminton Championships Team Event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. With intense and consistent victories in pool play and the elimination draw, Team USA remained undefeated before facing an advanced Canadian team in the finals and eventually fell in four matches.
Olympic gold medalist LeBron James led the Miami Heat to its second consecutive NBA title in June. The Heat beat San Antonio in seven games.
Maya Moore, an Olympic champion for Team USA in 2012, led the Minnesota Lynx to the WNBA title in a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Dream.
Claressa Shields, the 2012 Olympic women’s boxing champion, claimed the first Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Albena, Bulgaria. She won gold with a victory over Poland’s Elzibieta Wojckik in the championship bout and later was named AIBA Youth Female Boxer of the Year.
On the men’s side, Shakur Stevenson won a gold medal in the light bantam weight division at the Junior Men's World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine. The AIBA named Stevenson the top junior boxer of the year.
U.S. Paralympics announced that that U.S. Paralympian Bob Balk received the 2013 Paralympic Order from the International Paralympic Committee, the highest honor a person can receive in the Paralympic Movement at the 2013 Paralympic Awards Gala in Athens, Greece. Balk is a member of the USA Canoe/Kayak Board of Directors, where he represents the ParaCanoe discipline. He still competes in ParaCanoe, finishing 8th in V-1 TA at the 2013 World Championships. Balk is a six-time Paralympian who won six medals between 1994 and 2006 at both summer and Winter Games.
Two-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld began the season with a first-place finish in C-1 at the national team trials in McHenry, Md., and ending it with a national championship in Bryson City, N.C. Internationally, Eichfeld’s top results include an 11th place finish in C-1 at the world cup in Augsburg, Germany, and a 13th place finish in C-2 with Devin McEwan at the world cup in Wales.
French-American paddler Fabien Lefevre won the national team trials in men’s K-1. A two-time Olympic medalist for France, Lefevre qualified for the United States in both kayak and single canoe, a class in which he’s never competed before. The 31-year-old earned a bronze medal in K-1 at the first world cup and nearly medaled at the world championships in Czech Republic, placing fourth. He also turned in a fourth-place finish in C-1 at the world cup in Slovenia.
Sarah Hammer won two gold medals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in February in Minsk, Belarus, including the omnium title in which she beat rival Laura Trott, the British rider who won the Olympic gold medal in 2012. Hammer also won the gold medal in the individual pursuit.
Team USA cyclists captured three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal in September in the 2013 International Cycling Union Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Quebec.
Monica Bascio was especially exceptional in 2013 as she won two gold medals at her first world cup event of the year in Spain in June, in the time trial and road race in her H3 category, then equaled that performance at her next world cup in Italy. At the world championships in Quebec, Bascio swept two events. She finished as the No. 1-ranked H3 road para-cyclist in the UCI’s rankings, winning nine times in nine races in 2013, eight of them in world championship or world cup events. In addition, she was selected as the United States Olympic Committee’s 2012-13 Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year.
David Boudia, the 2012 Olympic champion, competed in the world championships in Barcelona, Spain, and came home with a silver medal in the 10-meter platform event.
Diving together for just one year, Cheyenne Cousineau and Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg won the gold medal in the women’s synchronized platform at the AT&T National Diving Championships. They went on to win the USA Diving World Team Trials and advanced to their first FINA World Championships in July in Barcelona where they placed seventh.
Beezie Madden and Simon won the 2013 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in April in Gothenburg, Sweden. It marked the first world cup win for Madden, 49, who has been riding since age of 3 and has three Olympic medals.
One of the biggest results in fencing came in August when Miles Chamley-Watson became the first U.S. man to win an individual gold medal at the FIE World Championships. In addition to Chamley-Watson’s big victory, the U.S. men’s foil team finished second, marking the first time a U.S. men’s foil team earned a medal at the senior world championships.
Perhaps the biggest news in this sport came at the start of the year when USA Field Hockey announced former Great Britain assistant coach Craig Parnham as the head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Parnham, who was a key figure in the coaching staff that led Great Britain to the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, relocated to Chula Vista, Calif., to work with the U.S. team.
Katelyn Falgowski, known as “Falgo” by many of her teammates, competed in her 150th match representing her country against Italy at the World League Semi-Final in June in London.
Golf will be part of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and construction of the Olympic course began this year. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told the Associated Press that construction is “reasonably good.” The course at Venue Reserva de Marapendi originally was scheduled to be completed by 2014 but American architect Gil Hanse, who is designing the course, said in July that it would not be tournament-ready until 2015.
Simone Biles became the first African-American to win the world all-around title. She also won the gold medal in the floor exercise, the silver medal in the vault and a bronze medal in the balance beam at the world championships. Kyla Ross, a member of the “Fierce Five” team that won the Olympic gold medal in London in 2012, brought home three silver medals.
McKayla Maroney, who captured a gold medal in the team event in London and a silver medal in the vault, became the first American to win consecutive world vault medals.
The U.S. men earned four medals at the world championships as Steve Legendre earned the silver medal in the vault, Brandon Wynn claimed the still rings bronze medal, Jake Dalton won the silver medal in the floor exercise and John Orozco earned a bronze medal in the parallel bars.
Sam Mikulak, a 2012 Olympian and a gymnast at the University of Michigan, won the U.S. all-around title and the NCAA all-around crown.
The U.S. men’s and women’s double mini-trampoline teams claimed gold medals at the 2013 World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships. This marked the first U.S. women’s first gold medal in the event since 1996; for the men it was their first since 1999.
Marti Malloy had quite a strong year in 2013, earning gold at the grand prix in Miami in June, earning a silver medal at the world championships in Rio in August, and then a silver medal at the Grand Slam Tokyo in November. Malloy earned a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Olympian Margaux Isaksen was named "Champion of Champions” after dominating a global all-star field of the top 16 athletes in pentathlon in Doha, Qatar. Isaksen, who placed fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, also won the gold medal at the world cup in Rio in March.
At the Samsung World Cup event in Lucerne, Switzerland, in July, the U.S. women’s eight finished in 5:54.16, beating the previous world-best time set by the United States in Lucerne, last year, by one-hundredth of a second. Romania took silver medal in 6:00.42, and Canada earned the bronze medal in 6:01.61. The men’s four and the men’s eight also won gold medals in Lucerne.
The women’s eight with Katelin Snyder, Caroline Lind, Vicky Opitz, Meghan Musnicki, Grace Luczak, Lauren Schmetterling, Emily Regan, Kerry Simmonds and Amanda Polk captured its eighth consecutive title in August at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea. The women’s four also won a world title in South Korea.
The USA Wheelchair Rugby Team climbed to the top of the world rankings on June 19 at the Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, the first major rugby event since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where Australia, Canada and the United States won gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. In Denmark, then-No.3-ranked Team USA topped then-No. 1-ranked Australia, 61-56, to win the gold medal. The USA Wheelchair Rugby Team went on to win gold medals at the Tri-Nations Series in Australia and the Americas Championship in Birmingham, Ala., ending the season at the top of the sport.
In one of the most dramatic spectacles in sailing, ORACLE TEAM USA successfully defended the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. Skipper and helmsman Jimmy Spithill guided the team’s AC72 past Emirates Team New Zealand to win by 39 seconds and retain the America’s Cup trophy even though it trailed 8-1 early in the event.
Sgt. Glenn Eller captured a world title and a world team title, earned top honors at the Fall Selection Match and walked away a silver medalist at the world cup finals, all within a span of 35 days from Sept. 20 through Oct. 25. In addition, he was the top finisher during the Spring Selection Match and finished fourth at the USA Shooting National Championships. In addition to his world championships and world cup finals success, he was the top qualifier during the World Cup Al Ain (UAE) while setting a world record by connecting on 146/150 targets while eventually finishing fifth. He scored a 10th-place finish at the world cup in Granada, Spain. Earning his fourth world championships medal and second world title overall in Lima, Peru, Eller became the fourth American in the sport of shotgun to win four or more world championship medals.
Corey Cogdell was named USA Shooting’s top women’s performer of 2013. At the Granada World Cup when she sailed through the qualification round with a perfect 75/75, and she finished the event with a bronze medal. She finished second at both the Fall Selection Match and the USA Shooting National Championships.
John Joss kicked the year off in Austria in January winning three medals in as many rifle events. Joss is one of several new athletes in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s (USAMU) new Para division at Ft. Benning, Ga. In May, Joss took the next huge step by earning a bronze medal at the International Paralympic Committee World Cup in Antalya, Turkey. At the biggest event of the year, the IPC World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, Joss provided the highlight of the trip by winning the gold medal in the R3 Air Rifle Prone event. Joss also earned two national titles during USA Shooting’s National Rifle & Pistol Championships.
The U.S. men’s team, with Landon Donovan back on the roster, had a strong showing this summer, winning the Gold Cup and then qualifying for the FIFA World Cup next summer in Brazil.
One of the biggest soccer moments this summer came on June 20 from Abby Wambach, who scored four goals in the first half of a friendly against South Korea to become the all-time leading women’s international goals scorer. Mia Hamm had held the record with 158 but Wambach need one half of a match to surpass the record. Wambach finished 2013 with 163 goals.
On the opening day of the U.S. Paralympics Spring Swimming Nationals (2013 Can-Am meet) in Minneapolis on April 4, Ian Silverman posted two world records. He won the 1,500-meter freestyle in 16:24.63, which broke a 33-year-old world mark, and he also claimed the world record in the 800 (8:35.69). Silverman won the gold medal in the 400 freestyle at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
2012 Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky won four world championship gold medals and set two world records in 2013. Ledecky set the world mark in the 1,500-meter freestyle with a time of 15:36.53, beating Kate Ziegler’s previous world record set back in 2007 (15:42.54) by more than six seconds — an eternity by swimming standards. Ledecky closed the world championships by setting a second world record in the 800 freestyle with a time of 8:13.86. The previous world record had been set by Great Britain’s Rebecca Adlington, who was clocked at 8:14.10 en route to winning the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. For her achievements, the U.S. Olympic Committee named her its Olympic SportsWoman of the Year.
Missy Franklin captured an incredible six gold medals at the world championships in Barcelona and was named the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year. Franklin surpassed the previous women’s record of five golds at a world meet, set by American Tracy Caulkins in 1978 and Australian Libby Trickett in 2007. She also became the fifth swimmer to earn as many as six gold medals at a worlds or an Olympic Games, joining an exclusive club with Americans Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps.
Haley Anderson captured the open water world title in the 5-kilometer race in July, finishing in 56 minutes, 34.2 seconds.
In synchronized swimming, the Walnut Creek Aquanuts made a strong showing on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” this summer, earning high praise from the show’s judges. After their 90-second routine to Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in a rooftop pool, judge Howard Stern called the act “amazing” and “spectacular,” and Heidi Klum agreed, saying, “It’s hard-core what you girls do, and I really enjoyed it.”
Ariel Hsing, a 2012 Olympian, won the women’s singles title, the junior girls’ singles title and the junior girls’ team crown at the 2013 North American Championship. She closed out 2013 by winning the women’s singles title, the women’s doubles title (with Judy Hugh) and the mixed doubles title (with Timothy Wang) at the national championships in December in Las Vegas.
Stephen Lambdin enjoyed a successful 2013 that included a men’s heavyweight national championship and the highest WTF world ranking point total among U.S. men heading into 2014 competition season. His 2013 highlights include a gold medal at the Canada Open, a silver medal at the Argentina Open and a top-15 Olympic ranking in the men’s +80-kilogram division (as of Dec. 13).
Former United States Olympic Committee executive director Harvey Schiller was elected in December as the new president and chairman of USA Team Handball. It is hoped that Schiller can help guide USA Team Handball back to the Olympic Games. The United States has not competed in the Olympic Games in Team Handball since Atlanta in 1996.
Bob and Mike Bryan were two victories away from becoming the first doubles team to win a calendar year Grand Slam since 1951. The Bryans lost in the U.S. Open semifinals. The Bryan brothers won Wimbledon in 2013, becoming the first men’s doubles team to hold all four major titles (Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, U.S. Open) and the Olympic title. They won the gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games. They were honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee as the Olympic Team of the Year.
Serena Williams won both the French Open and the U.S. Open to bring her career Grand Slam title total to 17 and to finish ranked No. 1.
Paralympic wheelchair tennis player David Wagner went undefeated in June, claiming four quad titles while notching a 7-0 record in singles matches and a 5-0 record in doubles matches. His stellar run was highlighted by wins in singles and doubles competition at the 2013 Japan Open, held May 29-June 2 in Lizuka, Japan, and 2013 BNP Paribas Open, held June 25-30 in Paris.
TRACK & FIELD
At the New York City Marathon, Tatyana McFadden led from start to finish to slay one of the toughest fields of wheelchair racers ever assembled. She not only won the race, but she completed a grand slam, with wins in Boston, London and Chicago earlier in the year. In addition, McFadden also won a stunning six gold medals at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. There, she won the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800-, 1500- and 5000-meter T54 wheelchair races and set the world record in the 800, finishing in 1minute, 44.44 seconds.
Raymond Martin, 19, became the first man to win five individual world titles at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. Raymond was named the USOC’s Paralympic SportsMan of the Year.
The team of Richard Browne, Blake Leeper, Jerome Singleton and Jarryd Wallace got a bit of redemption when they won the gold medal in the 4-x-100-meter (T42-46 class) at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games the relay was disqualified due to an exchange-zone violation during one of the baton handoffs.
Ashton Eaton became the first American to win the world title in the decathlon the year after winning the event in the Olympic Games. He totaled 8,809 points for the gold medal at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Brittney Reese barely qualified for the long jump final at the world championships in Moscow, finishing 12th, but once in the final, she showed she was still a force to be reckoned with in the event. She won the gold medal with a long jump of 7.01 meters. The gold medalist is now a five-time world champion (indoor/outdoor).
Nick Symmonds earned a silver medal in the 800 at the world championships in Moscow, after being beaten to the tape by Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia. Both had season bests, Aman in 1 minute, 43.31 seconds and Symmonds in 1:43.55.
On February 16, Bernard Lagat set an American record in the 2-mile race while at his 12th Millrose Games in New York City. Lagat finished in 8:09.49, beating Galen Rupp’s mark, set last year, of 8:09.72.
Gwen Jorgensen won the 2013 Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego in April to become the first U.S. woman to win an International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series event. Three weeks later, in Yokohama, Japan, she won a second gold and was ranked No. 1 in the world. Jorgensen won once again in August in Stockholm and remained the top women's triathlete in the world.
Megan Fisher won her third world championship title in the TRI-5 division at the 2013 International Triathlon Union Paratriathlon World Championships held Sept. 13 in London. Fisher completed the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course in 1:26:27, finishing more than 90 seconds ahead of the field.
Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross held off world No. 1 ranked Taiana Lima and Talita Da Rocha Antunes of Brazil in three sets in October in China to win back-to-back FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam titles. With the victory, Walsh Jennings set the all-time record for tournament victories by a women’s beach player with 113. Prior to this event, she had been tied with her former partner Misty May-Treanor at 112. Walsh Jennings also won her 21st Grand Slam title and took her 46th FIVB beach victory.
On Aug. 17 at the Moscow Open Cup in Russia, the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team defeated China for the first time in the program’s history, sweeping the two-time defending Paralympic Games champions, 25-21, 25-20, 25-22. China, ranked No. 1, defeated No. 2 United States in the gold-medal match of the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team won the Pan American Cup with a sweep of the Dominican Republic in Lima, Peru, to win its second consecutive gold medal. The team closed the 2013 season with a silver medal in the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions cup in Tokyo and posted a season record of 25-6.
The U.S. Women's Junior National Water Polo Team won gold at the 2013 FINA Junior World Championship in August, topping Spain 9-7 in the final. The victory marked the third time the U.S. women have claimed the junior world title and the first time in eight years. Rachel Fattal and Ashleigh Johnson were named tournament MVP and top goalkeeper, respectively.
Chancellor Ramirez had quite a year, going from Loyola High School in Los Angeles to playing with his new UCLA Bruins teammates at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, to being a part of the U.S. senior national team at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Ramirez completed his rare trifecta of international play at the FINA Men's Junior World Championships, in Szombathely, Hungary.
Olympian Kendrick Farris earned a bronze medal in the World University Games held in Kazan, Russia, in the summer. Competing in the 94-kilogram weight class, he set American records in the clean and jerk and total (372 kg.)
Thirteen-year-old CJ Cummings became the first American to set a continental or world record in more than a decade when he set a Pan American record in the snatch, clean & jerk and total at the Pan American Sub 15 Championships in August.
The biggest victory for wrestling came off the mat as the sport won its battle to remain part of the Olympic Games. The decision was made at the 125th Session of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires, the same meeting where Germany’s Thomas Bach was named the governing body’s new president and where Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Games. Wrestling received a majority of the votes with 49, followed by a joint bid by baseball and softball getting 24 votes and squash with 22.
A month after breaking his ankle, Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs went out to win his second consecutive world title. Competing at the 74-kilogram division, the freestyler defeated Ezzatollah Akbarizarinkolaei for the title and extended his winning streak to 65 consecutive matches.
This report used various news releases and reports from National Governing Bodies, the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics to compile this report.
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. A former sports reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, she has covered two Olympic Games and two Olympic Winter Games. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.