Team of the Year and Athletes of the Year announced
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 29, 2014
Swisshelm, Landsteiner named top athletes; senior ladies grab 2014 team honors
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - After a bronze-medal winning performance in Scotland this spring, Margie Smith's senior women's team has been named USA Curling's 2014 Team of the Year. In addition, two athletes who excelled in the lead position and teamwork this season have been recognized as USA Curling's top athletes for 2014.
2014 Olympians Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) have been named USA Curling's top female and male athletes, respectively, for 2014.
Smith (St. Paul, Minn.) and teammates Norma O'Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.), Debbie Dexter (St. Paul, Minn.), and Shelly Kosal (Edgerton, Wis.) battled through the round robin in Dumfries, Scotland, to earn a spot in the playoffs at the 2014 World Senior Championships, where they ended up with bronze medals with an 8-3 victory over Sweden.
"We worked so hard for this, not just this last year but the last 30 years," Smith said. "How lucky are we to share a life sport we play well with people we call friends? That is what this game is about and we were thrilled to play well, grateful for all the support and pumped to win!"
The team repeated as U.S. senior women's champions in January after going undefeated in the pool of seven competing teams to earn the right to become Team USA.
"It was our pleasure to represent the USA at the World Seniors," Dexter said. "I have been curling since 1974 and have been very fortunate to curl with my friends and to accumulate wins throughout the years. But, when we received our medals on the podium in Scotland, it was totally overwhelming and a dream come true."
Swisshelm, 46, played lead for the U.S. women's Olympic team in Sochi and helped Team Erika Brown earn its berth at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, where she was near the top of the statistics list for shooting percentages at both high-level competitions.
"I am grateful to the USCA for naming me Athlete of the Year in this wild ride of a year," said Swisshelm, who recently retired from competitive curling and accepted a coaching position with USA Curling. "This is an incredible and unexpected honor. It is a wonderful ending to an on-ice competitive career."
Swisshelm previously was named USA Curling's Female Athlete of the Year in 2001 and has been a member of two teams that were named the association's Team of the Year - in 2013 and in 2003.
"For me, this award is about the amazing work of our team and must be shared with Erika Brown, Debbie McCormick and Jessica Schultz. Without these three incredible and accomplished women, this doesn't happen," said Swisshelm, who competed in 19 straight U.S. women's National Championships, winning five times. "Lastly, for the ones who work the hardest - my family - thank you for making the last 20 years possible."
Landsteiner, also a member of the U.S. Olympic team in Sochi, has been named the association's Male Athlete of the Year for 2014.
"Wow, 2013-14 was an amazing year. My teammates were awesome, and I couldn't have asked for a greater experience," said Landsteiner, who works as a civil engineer with Lake Superior Consulting.
Landsteiner, 24, was the top ranked lead at the Olympic Qualifying Event in Germany in December, where the U.S. men secured their berth for Sochi. At the Olympic Games, he was ranked third with an 86 shooting percentage. In addition to winning the Olympic Team Trials and representing the U.S. at the Olympic qualifier and Olympic Games, Landsteiner was a member of the victorious North American team at the 2014 Continental Cup in Las Vegas. As a member of Team John Shuster, he then finished fifth at the 2014 USA Curling National Championships in Philadelphia, which took place a week after the Olympic Games concluded.
These annual awards were determined by USA Curling's Athlete/Curler Recognition Committee and approved by its Board of Directors this month. The 2014 winners also will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee for its annual athlete and team awards.
To view past winners of these awards, go to http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/For-Athletes/Awards.
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, and is partnered with Hilton HHonors, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.
For more information: Terry Kolesar, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).