Alpine skiers Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety, cross-country sprint duo Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins earn U.S. Olympic Committee's February honors
| Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins earn U.S. Olympic Committee's February Athletes of the Month honors.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Top performances throughout February earned alpine skiers Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) and Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) Athlete of the Month recognition, while the cross-country sprint duo of Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) received Team of the Month honors, the United States Olympic Committee announced today.
Shiffrin showed the poise of a storied veteran with a come-from-behind victory in slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on Feb. 16 in Schladming, Austria. As the world cup slalom leader, the 17-year-old entered the championships favored to win. Shiffrin embraced the pressure and became the third youngest female ever to win a slalom world championship, and the youngest American woman to win a world championship title since Diann Roffe won gold in giant slalom in 1985.
Also competing in Schladming, Ligety became the first male in 45 years to win three gold medals at the world championships. Ligety opened the championships with stunning victories in both super-G (Feb. 6) and super combined (Feb.11), then defended his 2011 giant slalom gold (Feb. 15) by nearly a second. Legendary ski star Jean Claude Killy was the last to accomplish the feat when he won four gold medals in 1968. Previously, only four men have won three or more gold medals at a world championships.
Utilizing their powerful ski technique and seamless teamwork, Randall and Diggins captured gold in the team sprint at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on Feb. 24 in Val di Fiemme, Italy. The duo finished with a time of 20:24.44, nearly eight seconds clear of second place. The victory marked the first world championship cross country gold for the U.S. The pair qualified first and kept the pace for most of the race, moving into the lead without much challenge in the final leg.
Cycling's Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) and ski jumping's Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) earned second and third place in the female vote. On the men's side, biathlete Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) finished runner-up, while gymnast Jake Dalton (Reno, Nev.) took third. The sailing duo of Fred Strammer (Nokomis, Fla.) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif.) finished second in the team competition, while the U.S. Junior Water Skiing Team rounded out the voting in third.
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. Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing
2. Sarah Hammer, Cycling
3. Sarah Hendrickson, Ski Jumping
1. Ted Ligety, Alpine Skiing
2. Tim Burke, Biathlon
3. Jake Dalton, Gymnastics
1. Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins, Cross-Country Skiing
2. Fred Strammer and Zach Brown, Sailing
3. U.S. Junior Team, Water Skiing