U.S. Paralympics

U.S. Paralympics

By U.S. Olympic Committee | Sept. 17, 2012, 3:29 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee today announced its annual award recipients for Olympic and Paralympic athletes and teams of the year. Each of the 2011-12 honorees were part of Team USA's outstanding performance at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, and all are reigning Olympic or Paralympic champions. Swimmer Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) was named Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year; wheelchair racer Raymond Martin (Jersey City, N.J.) was named Paralympic SportsMan of the Year; and the U.S. men's quad doubles wheelchair tennis team was designated Paralympic Team of the Year. Sprinter Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, Calif.) has been named the USOC SportsWoman of the Year; swimmer Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) was selected SportsMan of the Year; and the U.S. women's eight rowing team was honored as Olympic Team of the Year.

"We are so proud to honor these young men and women who represent the finest ambassadors of sport, Team USA and the Olympic Movement," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "Through their commitment to excellence on and off the field, these athletes represent our country with incredible grace and composure, and their outstanding achievements are an inspiration to all Americans."
The six awards will be presented at a celebratory dinner during the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly held Sept. 20-21 at the Antlers Hilton Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jessica Long, Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year 
U.S. Paralympic swimming standout Jessica Long collected eight medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games to tie for the most of any athlete and bring her total Paralympic medal count to 17 over three Games. The 20-year-old grabbed gold in five events in London, including the 100-meter butterfly (S8), 400 freestyle (S8), 100 breaststroke (SB7), 200 individual medley (SM8) and 100 freestyle (S8). She also claimed silver in the 100 backstroke (S8) and the 4x100 freestyle relay (34 points), and bronze in the 4x100 medley relay (34 points). Long also lowered her world-record times in the 100 and 400 freestyle and has won both events at three consecutive Paralympic Games. She punched her ticket to London after winning seven events and breaking five world records at the 2012 U.S Paralympic Trails. She returned to the international stage with high hopes in London after capturing nine gold medals and four world records at the 2011 Pan-Pacific Paralympic Swimming Championships. Swimming World Magazine named Long Disabled Swimmer of the Year in 2011, and in 2012, she won her second ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.

Raymond Martin, Paralympic SportsMan of the Year 
In his first Paralympic Games, 18-year-old Raymond Martin struck nothing but gold, winning every event he entered in London. Competing in the T52 class, Martin secured Team USA's first track & field gold of the Games after winning the 100 meters. He then cruised to victory in the 400, before securing the top podium spot in the 800. The 200-meter world-record holder then completed his sweep of the sprint events, posting a time of 30.25 seconds in the 200, his premier event. Martin entered the Games with high expectations after taking top honors in the 200, 400 and 800 meters at the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Trials, where he set a world record and an American record in the 200 and 800. Martin's 2011-12 campaign was also highlighted by four medals - including two golds and two silvers - at the 2011 Parapan American Games, followed by a record-shattering performance at the Swiss Series, where he set national records in the 200 and 400.

U.S. Men's Quad Doubles Wheelchair Tennis Team, Paralympic Team of the Year 
The U.S. men's quad doubles tennis team of Nick Taylor (Wichita, Kan.) and David Wagner (Hillsboro, Ore.) captured its third consecutive gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The winning duo, which has dominated the field since quad doubles was introduced at the 2004 Paralympic Games, outlasted favorites Andrew Lapthorne and Peter Norfolk of Great Britain, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, to defend its title. Taylor and Wagner opened the 2011-12 campaign by aiding the U.S. to its seventh world team cup championship last May. Four months later, the duo combined to win its seventh grand slam doubles title at the 2011 U.S. Open. Prior to the Games, the pair finished third at the 2012 World Team Cup. In addition to winning doubles gold at the London Games, Taylor and Wagner each medaled in the individual competition, with Wagner claiming silver and bringing his total medal count to five, and Taylor earning bronze to improve his medal count to four overall.

Allyson Felix, Olympic SportsWoman of the Year 
U.S. track & field standout Allyson Felix made history during her third Olympic appearance by collecting three gold medals and becoming the first woman to accomplish the feat since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. Felix claimed her first gold of the London Games in the 200 meters and, two days later, ran the second leg of the world-record setting 4x100 relay team. She closed the Games with the gold medal in the 4x400 relay. A three-time Olympic medalist in the 200, Felix claimed top honors in her signature event at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, breaking Griffith-Joyner's 24-year-old record with a time of 21.69 seconds - the fourth-fastest by a woman in history. The three-time Jesse Owens Award winner became the first American woman to win national titles in all three sprint events at the 2011 U.S. Outdoor Championships. She completed her stellar 2011 campaign by winning four medals at the 2011 World Championships, tying Carl Lewis for 10 career medals in the event.

Michael Phelps, Olympic SportsMan of the Year 
During the recently completed 2012 Olympic Games, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history with 22 medals, including 18 golds. At the London Games, Phelps capped his illustrious career with four gold medals - including individual titles in the 200-meter individual medley and 100 butterfly and relay wins in the 4x200 freestyle and 4x100 medley. He also added silver medals in the 200 butterfly and the 4x100 freestyle relay. It was a fitting exclamation point to Phelps' career that spanned four Olympic Games. Phelps concluded the 2012 Games as the most successful swimmer of the meet for a third consecutive time. In his final season, Phelps also earned the 2011-12 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series title and collected seven medals at the 2012 FINA World Championships.

U.S. Women's Eight, Olympic Team of the Year 
With a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, the women's eight - Erin Cafaro (Modesto, Calif.), Caryn Davies (Ithaca, N.Y.), Susan Francia (Abington, Pa.), Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.), Esther Lofgren (Newport Beach, Calif.), Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine), Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.), Taylor Ritzel (Larkspur, Colo.) and Mary Whipple (Orangevale, Calif.) - continued its historic run that includes seven straight world championships and three consecutive Olympic medals. The U.S. defended the gold in London, finishing the course in 6:10.59, nearly two seconds ahead of the field. It was a fitting culmination to a year that saw the U.S. fortify its championship dynasty on the world stage. The team set the course record at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta to claim the Remenham Challenge Cup and won gold at the 2011 World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. At the 2012 World Cup, the team set a world record in its defeat over Canada. The women's eight continued its winning tradition with a gold-medal finish at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Slovenia to qualify for London. All nine athletes in the boat are ranked among the top 16 most-medaled female athletes in U.S. history at the world championship and Olympic levels.

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. Olympic Movement.

USOC SportsMan of the Year     
1974 Jim Bolding, Track & Field    
1975 Clinton Jackson, Boxing     
1976 John Naber, Swimming     
1977 Eric Heiden, Speedskating         
1978 Bruce Davidson, Equestrian     
1979 Eric Heiden, Speedskating     
1980 Eric Heiden, Speedskating         
1981 Scott Hamilton, Figure Skating         
1982 Greg Louganis, Diving             
1983 Rick McKinney, Archery             
1984 Edwin Moses, Track & Field        
1985 Willie Banks, Track & Field            
1986 Matt Biondi, Swimming             
1987 Greg Louganis, Diving             
1988 Matt Biondi, Swimming             
1989 Roger Kingdom, Track & Field        
1990 John Smith, Wrestling         
1991 Carl Lewis, Track & Field            
1992 Pablo Morales, Swimming             
1993 Michael Johnson, Track & Field        
1994 Dan Jansen, Speedskating         
1995 Michael Johnson, Track & Field        
1996 Michael Johnson, Track & Field        
1997 Pete Sampras, Tennis             
1998 Jonny Moseley, Skiing             
1999 Lance Armstrong, Cycling             
2000 Rulon Gardner,Wrestling             
2001 Lance Armstrong, Cycling             
2002 Lance Armstrong, Cycling             
2003 Lance Armstrong, Cycling             
2004 Michael Phelps, Swimming         
2005 Hunter Kemper, Triathlon             
2006 Joey Cheek, Speedskating         
2007 Tyson Gay, Track & Field            
2008 Michael Phelps, Swimming    
2009 Todd Lodwick, Nordic Combined        
2010 Evan Lysacek, Figure Skating        
2011-12 Michael Phelps, Swimming        

USOC SportsWoman of the Year
1974 Shirley Babashoff, Swimming
1975 Kathy Heddy, Swimming
1976 Sheila Young, Speedskating
1977 Linda Fratianne, Figure Skating
1978 Tracy Caulkins, Swimming
1979 Cynthia "Sippy" Woodhead, Swimming
1980 Beth Heiden, Speedskating
1981 Sheila Young Ochowicz, Cycling/Speedskating
1982 Melanie Smith, Equestrian
1983 Tamara McKinney, Skiing
1984 Tracy Caulkins, Swimming
1985 Mary Decker Slaney, Track & Field
1986 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Track & Field
1987 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Track & Field 
1988 Florence Griffith Joyner, Track & Field
1989 Janet Evans, Swimming
1990 Lynn Jennings, Track & Field
1991 Kim Zmeskal, Gymnastics
1992 Bonnie Blair, Speedskating
1993 Gail Devers, Track & Field
1994 Bonnie Blair, Speedskating
1995 Picabo Street, Skiing
1996 Amy Van Dyken, Swimming
1997 Tara Lipinski, Figure Skating
1998 Picabo Street, Skiing
1999 Jenny Thompson, Swimming
2000 Marion Jones, Track & Field
2001 Jennifer Capriati, Tennis
2002 Sarah Hughes, Figure Skating
2003 Michelle Kwan, Figure Skating
2004 Carly Patterson, Gymnastics
2005 Katie Hoff, Swimming
2006 Hannah Teter, Snowboarding
2007 Katie Hoff, Swimming 
2008 Natalie Coughlin, Swimming and Nastia Liukin, Gymnastics
2009 Lindsey Vonn, Skiing
2010 Lindsey Vonn, Skiing
2011-12 Allyson Felix, Track & Field

USOC Olympic Team of the Year    
1996 Women's National/Olympic Basketball Team  
1997 Women's National Soccer Team    
1998 Women's Olympic Ice Hockey Team    
1999 Women's National Soccer Team    
2000 Baseball Olympic Team
2001 Postal Service Cycling Team    
2002 Women's Bobsled Team    
2003 Women's Gymnastics Team
2004 Olympic Softball Team 
2005 Men's Badminton Doubles Team of Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan
2006 Men's Olympic Curling Team
2007 Women's World Championships Gymnastics Team
2008 Men's National Volleyball Team
2009 Steven Holcomb's Four-Man Bobsled Team
2010 USA I Four-Man Bobsled Team
2011-12 Women's Eight Rowing Team

USOC Paralympian of the Year
2004 Erin Popovich, Swimming
2005 Laurie Stephens, Skiing
2006 Jessica Long, Swimming
2007 Jessica Galli, Track & Field
2008 Erin Popovich, Swimming

USOC Paralympic SportsMan of the Year    
2009 Steve Cash, Sled Hockey           
2010 Taylor Chace, Sled Hockey       
2011-12 Raymond Martin, Track & Field       

USOC Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year
2009 Stephani Victor, Skiing
2010 Alana Nichols, Skiing
2011-12 Jessica Long, Swimming

USOC Paralympic Team of the Year
2009 National Sled Hockey Team
2010 Paralympic Sled Hockey Team
2011-12 Men's Quad Doubles Wheelchair Tennis Team

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