COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Triathlon today honored world championship medalists Patricia Walsh and Andre Kajlich as its 2012 USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year. The accolades were selected by the USA Triathlon Age Group Committee.
An honorable mention Athlete of the Year selection a year ago, Walsh (TRI-6, Austin, Texas) ended the 2012 season as the world's No. 1-ranked paratriathlete in the women's TRI-6 category, according to the International Triathlon Union. She won TRI-6 titles at the 2012 USA Paratriathlon National Championships and the PATCO Paratriathlon Championships before earning the bronze medal at the 2012 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.
Also an honorable mention pick in 2011, Kajlich (TRI-1, Seattle, Wash.) is currently ranked No. 1 in the men's TRI-1 category, according to ITU. He was a runner-up finisher at USA Paratriathlon Nationals and the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships and captured gold at the 2012 PATCO Paratriathlon Championships. Additionally, Kajlich won the handcycle category at the 2012 Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
"On behalf of USA Triathlon, I'd like to congratulate our USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year, Patricia Walsh and Andre Kajlich, as well as all of our inspirational paratriathletes for an amazing 2012 season," said Amanda Duke, USA Triathlon's Paratriathlon Program Manager. "We enjoyed outstanding performances in domestic and international competition and look forward to introducing more athletes to our sport as we build toward Paralympic inclusion in 2016."
On the women's side, 2012 national and world champions Patricia Collins (TRI-5, Alexandria, Va.) and Melissa Stockwell (TRI-2, Chicago, Ill.) claimed honorable mention accolades. Jamie Brown (TRI-5, Carlsbad, Calif.) and Matt Perkins (TRI-2, Boise Idaho), who both finished on the podium at the 2012 national and world championships, were chosen as the men's honorable mention selections.
Historically a world leader in paratriathlon, the U.S. led the medal count by capturing 13 of a possible 36 medals at the 2012 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. Paratriathlon will make its Paralympic Games debut in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
USA Paratriathlon Women's Athlete of the Year
USA Paratriathlon Men's Athlete of the Year