SOCHI, Russia – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games finalists for Best of U.S., a new awards program that recognizes outstanding performances from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as determined by fan vote.
For the Sochi Games, winners will be selected in each of the following categories: Best Male/Female Olympian, Best Male/Female Paralympian, Team of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, Moment of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, Team Behind the Team Award and Fan of the Games Award.
Fan voting on the Paralympic side begins today (March 16) at 10 a.m. EDT and continues through March 21 on the U.S. Paralympics Facebook page. The 10 awards will be announced during the Best of U.S. Awards Show, scheduled to air April 7 on NBCSN.
A nominating committee, comprised of USOC, athlete and media representatives, selected the finalists for the individual athlete and team categories, as well as the Moment of the Games, based on nominations from each National Governing Body.
Team USA fans can submit nominations for the Fan of the Games Award via video or photo on the Team USA Facebook page.
Mark Bathum, Alpine Skiing
Mark Bathum, along with guide Cade Yamamoto, landed on the podium twice in the men’s visually impaired alpine skiing competition; his wins include silver medals in the super-G and the super combined events.
Declan Farmer, Sled Hockey
Declan Farmer, 16, scored two goals and had an assist in Team USA’s 3-0 win against Canada to secure a spot in the gold medal game versus Russia. Farmer also had a goal and an assist in his first Paralympic Winter Games competition against Italy, in which the team won 5-1.
Andy Soule, Nordic Skiing
Soule finished in the top-five, including two fourth place finishes, in each of the five biathlon and cross-country events he competed in (fourth/7.5km biathlon, fourth/15km biathlon, fifth/15km cross-country, fifth/12km biathlon, fifth/1km cross-country sprint).
Evan Strong, Snowboarding
Strong won the first-ever gold medal in the men’s Paralympic snowboard cross event. The event made its Games debut on the 2014 competition schedule. After finishing second in the first run, his second race was the fastest of the day for any competitor at 51.62.
Stephanie Jallen, Alpine Skiing
Jallen won a bronze medal in her first-ever Paralympic competition – the women’s super-G standing event. She also won a second bronze in the women’s super combined standing event.
Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing
Masters garnered the first U.S. women’s Paralympic cross-country medal in 20 years with her silver medal win in the 12km sitting event. She followed up that stellar performance with a second medal on the last day of competition, winning bronze in the women’s 5km cross-country sitting event.
Tatyana McFadden, Nordic Skiing
In a dramatic fight to the finish, McFadden won a silver medal in the women’s 1km cross-country sprint event. Also a summer athlete, the win marked McFadden’s first Paralympic Winter Games medal of her career.
Laurie Stephens, Alpine Skiing
Stephens won two bronze medals, one in the women’s downhill sitting event, and a second in the super- G against an ultra-competitive women’s sitting class.
Men’s U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team
The U.S. Men’s Sled Hockey Team claimed the first-ever back-to-back Paralympic sled hockey gold medal win in the history of the Games with its 1-0 win against Russia.
U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team
The U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team took fifth overall, narrowly missing the playoffs after a near-comeback in the final round robin game against Great Britain. Team USA finished with a 4-5 overall record in round robin play. Team USA posted victories over China, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
U.S. Nordic Mixed Relay Team
The American 4x2.5km mixed relay cross-country team, made up of sit skier Tatyana McFadden and visually impaired skier Jake Adicoff, along with his guide Reid Pletcher, finished in sixth place. McFadden skied the first and third legs of the relay while Adicoff and Pletcher skied the second and fourth legs for a combined finish time of 29:06.7.
Men’s sled hockey win again Russia
The U.S. Men’s Sled Hockey Team claimed the first-ever back-to-back Paralympic sled hockey gold medal wins in the history of the Games with its 1-0 win against Russia.
Oksana Masters’ silver win in the women’s 12km standing cross-country event
Masters became the first American female to win a Paralympic cross-country medal in 20 years with her silver medal in the 12km cross-country sitting event.
U.S. men’s medal sweep in the first-ever Paralympic Winter Games snowboard cross event
U.S. snowboarders Evan Strong, Mike Shea and Keith Gabel combined for gold, silver, bronze to sweep the podium in the Paralympic debut of the men’s snowboard cross event.
Stephanie Jallen winning her first Paralympic medal in her first Paralympic race
Jallen, 18, had an outstanding performance in her first-ever Paralympic Winter Games race, earning a bronze medal in the women’s super-G standing event. Her excitement was contagious at the finish, as she and teammates rejoiced with pure joy.
Andy Soule’s perfect shooting record in biathlon
Andy Soule shot clean throughout Games competition; the marksman went 50 for 50 throughout all three biathlon races in which he competed.