Steven Lopez Named USOC Athlete of Month; Danielle Pelham 2nd in Women's Voting
Colorado Springs, Colo. - The U.S. Olympic Committee announced gymnast Bridget Sloan and taekwondo athlete Steven Lopez as the October Athletes of the Month for their World Championship performances, while USA Baseball's 18U National Team earned Team of the Month honors after winning gold at the 18U Pan American Championships.
More than 4,100 votes were cast by followers of the USOC's Twitter site (@ USOlympic). The Twitter vote accounts for 10 percent of the final tally, with a voting panel of U.S. Olympic family members comprising the remainder.
As the lone returning member of the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. gymnastics team, all eyes were on Sloan (Pittsboro, Ind.) at the 2009 World Championships in the O2 Arena in London, England. The 2009 U.S. Champion shone in the spotlight and claimed the all-around title, edging fellow American Rebecca Bross. An impressive floor routine gave Sloan an all-around score of 57.825 and the World Championship title on Oct. 16. Sloan also placed sixth in the uneven bars final with a score of 14.600
Lopez (Sugar Land, Texas) cemented his legacy as one of the greatest taekwondo athletes ever at the 2009 WTF World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lopez, 30, became the first fighter in history to win five World Championship titles when he captured the men's welterweight gold medal on Oct. 14. The three-time USOC Athlete of the Month is undefeated at the biennial event since winning his first World Championship in 2001.
For the second straight month, a USA Baseball team has been named USOC Team of the Month. This time, the 18U National Team was honored for their gold medal-winning performance at the COPABE "AAA" 18U Pan American Championships in Barguisimeto, Venezuela. The title was a first for USA Baseball at the tournament. Team USA knocked off rival Cuba twice during the nine-day event, including a 6-1 decision in the final on Oct. 3. Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Texas) struck out 16 batters in the final game, leading the U.S. to a perfect 8-0 record at the tournament.
Taekwondo athlete Danielle Pelham (Bothell, Wash.) and wheelchair fencer Catherine Bouwcamp (Fishers, Ind.) tied for second place in the voting for USOC Female Athlete of the Month. Competing in her first World Championships, Pelham won the women's bantamweight title on Oct. 16. Bouwcamp, 13, won the bronze medal in the sabre division on Oct. 10 at her first international event, the Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Warsaw, Poland. Coming in third in the voting was two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), who won the 2009 Fencing World Championships in Antalya, Turkey on Oct. 8.
Tim O'Donnell (Boulder, Colo.) became the first U.S. male triathlete to win the ITU Triathlon Long Distance World Championship on Oct. 25 in Perth, Australia. Paralympic judo athlete Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won the bronze medal at the Rendez-vous Canada tournament. The legally blind athlete fought against sighted competitors and currently ranks third among all 100kg judo athletes in the country. For their outstanding performances in the month of October, O'Donnell and Porter placed second and third in the voting for USOC Male Athlete of the Month, respectively.
Team USA Wheelchair Rugby finished second in USOC Team of the Month voting after taking gold on Oct. 31 at the inaugural American zonal championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The team featured 2008 Paralympic track athlete Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Mo.), who becomes the first woman to join the co-ed wheelchair rugby team. Ice dancing team Meryl Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich.) and Charlie White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) placed third in the voting after taking home the gold medal at the Rostelecom Cup, the second event in the 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, in Moscow, Russia.
1. Bridget Sloan, Gymnastics
t2. Danielle Pelham, Taekwondo
t2. Catherine Bouwcamp, Wheelchair Fencing
3. Mariel Zagunis, Fencing
1. Steven Lopez, Taekwondo
2. Tim O'Donnell, Triathlon
3. Myles Porter, Judo
1. 18U National Team, Baseball
2. Team USA, Wheelchair Rugby
3. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Figure Skating