U.S. Olympic Committee announces 2012-13 athletes, teams of year
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced its annual award recipients for the 2012-13 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and teams of the year. On the Olympic side, swimmer Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) was named SportsWoman of the Year, alpine skier Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) was selected SportsMan of the Year, and the U.S. men’s doubles tennis team of Bob Bryan (Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.) and Mike Bryan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) was honored as Team of the Year. Meanwhile for Paralympic sport, Para-cyclist Monica Bascio (Evergreen, Colo.) was named SportsWoman of the Year, track & field athlete Raymond Martin (Jersey City, N.J.) was tabbed SportsMan of the Year and the men’s 4x100-meter track & field team was designated Team of the Year.
The six awards will be presented during an awards reception in conjunction with the 100 Days Out Celebration to commemorate the final countdown to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Oct. 29 in New York.
Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky earned four gold medals while notching two world records at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. She broke world records in the 1,500- and 800-meter freestyle events, and also won gold in the 400 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay. She was recognized with the Phillips 66 Performance of the Year Award for her world-record setting performance in the 1,500, where she eclipsed the previous mark by more than six seconds. She also won gold with an American record in the 400 freestyle, becoming the first U.S. women to break the four-minute mark in the event. She became just the second woman and first American to sweep the three freestyle races at a single world championships, earning the FINA Trophy as the highest scoring female swimmer of the meet. Additionally, she garnered three national titles and became the first American woman to qualify for the world championships in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events. For her overall performance, she was selected as the 2013 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year.
Ted Ligety finished the 2012-13 season ranked first in giant slalom and third overall in the FIS world cup standings. The two-time Olympian secured his fourth giant slalom overall title with a wire-to-wire victory on March 9 before earning a historic sixth win in giant slalom the following week to join alpine skiing icon Ingemar Stenmark as the only other man to win six or more giant slalom races in a single world cup season. He opened the 2012-13 World Cup season by powering through a blizzard to win the giant slalom race by an extraordinary 2.75 seconds in Soelden, Austria. The win marked the largest margin of victory in a giant slalom race in 34 years. In February 2013, Ligety became only the fourth man – and the first in 45 years – to win three gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. He opened the event with stunning victories in super-G and super combined, before defending his giant slalom title, besting the field by nearly a full second.
The all-time winningest doubles team in tennis history and No. 1 doubles team in the world, Bob and Mike Bryan captured the ‘Golden Slam’ after winning the doubles title at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. With the win, the Bryan brothers became the first men’s doubles team in the Open-era to hold all four major titles – including the 2012 US Open, 2013 Australian Open, 2013 French Open and 2013 Wimbledon Championship – along with the 2012 Olympic gold medal. The win marked the Bryans’ 15th Grand Slam title and extended their reign atop the ATP doubles rankings, dating back to September 2012. The pair continued its winning ways at the 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Cincinnati, where it claimed its 92nd tour-level title – the most doubles titles by the same team in tennis history. With the win, the Bryans clinched the year-end No. 1 ATP doubles team ranking for a record ninth time and fifth consecutive season. It was the earliest a year-end No. 1 ranking had been ever been secured.
Following a double silver-medal performance at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Monica Bascio became an unstoppable force in 2013, winning every individual race she entered throughout the season before retiring from competitive cycling. She opened her winning season with UCI Para-cycling World Cup H3 wins in Italy and Spain. From there, she went on to secure the overall world cup title at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup Finals with wins in the H3 time trial, road race and team relay. She continued her domination at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, winning the H3 time trial in 35:44.93, more than a minute faster than her nearest competitor. Two days later, she was atop the medal stand again as she claimed the title in the H3 road race, besting the field by nearly three minutes as she covered the 51.8 km course in 1:49.26.
Raymond Martin followed up an incredibly successful 2012 season, in which he won four gold medals at the London Paralympic Games, with an equally historic 2013 season to earn him the USOC’s Paralympic SportsMan of the Year title for the second consecutive year. The 19-year-old became the first man to win five gold medals in the history of the IPC Athletics World Championships. Martin dominated the track in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter races, as well as the 1,500, which was a newly added event for his classification at the world championships. Martin also picked up an American record in the 800 with a time of 1:59.52. En route to his world championship sweep, Martin won all five events at the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. Meanwhile, Martin was balancing training and competing with freshman-year studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he is pursuing a degree in kinesiology. This is the second annual award for Martin, who was also selected Paralympic SportsMan of the Year for 2011-12.
Ten months after being disqualified for an exchange-zone violation at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the men’s 4x100-meter T42-46 team of Richard Browne (Jackson, Miss.), Blake Leeper (Kingsport, Tenn.), Jerome Singleton (Irmo, S.C.) and Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Ga.) stood atop the podium at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. The talented quartet won gold in a world record time of 40.73 to improve the previous world record of 41.78 and beat runner-up Brazil by nearly a second. Each of the four men won at least one individual medal as well, combining for eight of the 52 medals won by Team USA. Browne took silver in the T44 100; Leeper won silver medals in the T43 100 and 200, and T44/43 400; Singleton grabbed bronze medals in the T44 100 and 200; and Wallace won gold in the T44 200.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
The USOC SportsMan and SportsWoman of the Year awards have been presented annually to the top overall male and female athletes from USOC member organizations since 1974. In 1996, a team category was added to recognize the outstanding achievements of team members who might not otherwise have been eligible for individual awards. The Paralympian of the Year award was introduced in 2004, and the category was expanded to the Paralympic SportsWoman, SportsMan and Team of the Year awards in 2009. Winners are selected from the female, male and team of the year nominations of the National Governing Bodies for the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games sports, as well as select, designated entities within the U.S. Paralympic Movement.
For a complete list of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athlete and team of the year honorees, visit TeamUSA.org.