COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the 2014-15 finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes year-round. Fans are invited to vote for their favorite athletes and teams at TeamUSA.org/Awards through Friday, Nov. 20.
The Team USA Awards honor the athletes and teams of the year in six categories:
- Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
- Male Olympic Athlete of the Year
- Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
- Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
- Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year
- Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
Formerly known as the USOC SportsMan, SportsWoman and Team of the Year awards, the honors began in 1974. The impressive and diverse collection of past winners – from Carl Lewis (track and field) and Bonnie Blair (speedskating) to Michael Phelps (swimming) and Jessica Long (Paralympic swimming) – represent nearly 30 sports on the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic programs. Their collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout history.
Athletes and teams considered for the Best of the Year were finalists for Best of the Month honors, dating back to the fall of the previous year and coinciding with the sport calendar. A USOC nominating committee then selected the top-five finalists in the individual categories and top three in the team categories to advance to the voting round.
Online fan voting at TeamUSA.org/Awards accounts for 50 percent of the final tally, while members of the Olympic and Paralympic family – including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists – account for the other 50 percent.
The six award winners will be announced during the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Year, to be held Dec. 10 in Philadelphia. The awards show will be televised on NBCSN on Dec. 27 from 3-4 p.m. ET.
The year-end celebration will also recognize the Building Dreams Award, presented by USG, which honors an individual, group or community that has gone above and beyond in its support of Team USA.
In addition to presenting sponsor Dow, four USOC partners – DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG – are associate sponsors of the Team USA Awards program.
The 2014-15 Best of the Year finalists include:
Female Olympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
Simone Biles, Gymnastics
Became the first woman to win 10 career world championship gold medals – and four golds at consecutive world championships – with a historic third straight world all-around title in 2015.
Adeline Gray, Wrestling
Won her third world title at 75 kg., to rank second among U.S. women in world championship gold (3) and overall (5) medals, while maintaining a No. 1 world ranking throughout the season.
Gwen Jorgensen, Triathlon
Won her second consecutive world title in 2015, becoming the first triathlete ever – man or woman – to complete an undefeated season and earn 12 straight ITU World Triathlon Series wins.
Katie Ledecky, Swimming
Became the first swimmer to win the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events at the FINA World Championships, claiming five gold medals and three world records to be named Female Swimmer of the Meet in 2015.
Serena Williams, Tennis
Became only the second woman to win four straight Grand Slam titles twice, claiming her 21st Grand Slam singles victory in 2015 and fifth WTA Finals title in 2014, ranking top-three all time in both categories.
Male Olympic Athlete of the Year
Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling
Went undefeated to claim his third world championship title in the men’s freestyle 74 kg. division in 2015, becoming the third-most winningest wrestler in U.S. history and improving his record to 114-2 overall.
Ashton Eaton, Track and Field
Improved his decathlon world record with 9,045 points and broke a 40-year-old world decathlon record in the 400-meter to win the gold medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships by more than 300 points.
Vincent Hancock, Shooting
Became the third male to win three world championship titles in skeet shooting, and the first to post a perfect world-record score of 157 straight targets since the new skeet rules were implemented after the 2012 Olympics.
Ted Ligety, Skiing
Became the second-most decorated U.S. skier in world championship history with seven medals, winning his third straight giant slalom world title and finishing third in the final FIS World Cup giant slalom standings.
Auston Matthews, Ice Hockey
Led Team USA to the 2015 IIHF U-18 World Championship gold medal as the tournament’s best forward and surpassed Patrick Kane’s single-season National Team Development Program records for goals (55) and points (117).
Olympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
Women’s USA-1, Bobsled
Elana Meyers Taylor and Cherrelle Garrett became the first women’s bobsled team to win a world championship, as driver Meyers Taylor claimed the overall 2014-15 world cup title with six gold medals.
U.S. Women’s World Cup Team, Soccer
Became the first nation to win three FIFA Women’s World Cup titles, setting the record for most goals scored in a World Cup Final in 5-2 win over Japan and surpassing Germany as the top-scoring team in Women’s World Cup history with 112 goals.
Women’s Senior National Team, Water Polo
Won an unprecedented fourth FINA World Championship and ninth World League Super Final, becoming the first women’s team to hold current Olympic, world championship, world cup and World League titles.
Female Paralympic Athlete of the Year, presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
Hailey Danisewicz, Triathlon
Won gold medals at three ITU World Paratriathlon events and finished second, as part of a Team USA PT2 sweep, at the 2015 World Championships.
Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing, Cycling
Won three world championship medals – two in Nordic skiing and one in cycling – and also claimed the overall cross-country skiing world cup title with seven gold medals.
Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field
Remained undefeated to capture her third straight marathon grand slam, while also winning her first marathon world title and setting three T54 world records.
Becca Meyers, Swimming
Won three medals – including two golds – and set three world records at the IPC Swimming World Championships, in which she also set world-leading marks in five events.
Jamie Whitmore, Cycling
Swept the time trial and road race gold medals at the road cycling world championships and won the overall world cup title with nine world cup victories.
Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year
Joe Berenyi, Cycling
Won three medals – including two golds – at the track cycling world championships, and added four medals – including three golds – at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
Declan Farmer, Sled Hockey
Led Team USA in season scoring, recording the game-winning goal at the 2015 World Championship and tying the U.S. record with six goals in a world championship tournament.
Mike Shea, Snowboarding
Won the LL2 banked slalom world title and three world cup events to end the season ranked No. 1 in the world for both banked slalom and snowboardcross.
Andy Soule, Nordic Skiing
Won the most medals ever (5) by a U.S. athlete at the Nordic skiing world championships and added five world cup medals to win the overall cross-country world cup title.
Roderick Townsend, Track and Field
Won four world championship medals in his first year of Paralympic competition, winning gold in the high jump and twice setting world records in his signature event.
Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow
W1 Men’s Team, Archery
The team of Jeff Fabry, Chuck Lear and Jerry Shields won Team USA’s first world championship gold medal in the men’s W1 team event at the 2015 World Championships.
U.S. National Team, Sled Hockey
Went undefeated during the 2014-15 season and defeated Canada, 3-0, to win the 2015 world championship, outscoring its five opponents by a combined 29-1 in the tournament.
U.S. Women’s National Team, Wheelchair Basketball
Won the gold medal at the 2015 Parapan Am Games, defeating the reigning world champions and all opponents by an average of 55 points per game to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.